You cannot expect what you don’t inspect. As business leaders, we’ve found through mentorship and coaching that we have to remove ourselves and go with faith, trust other people, and let them run so that our vision can go oversee the different divisions. We’re trying to walk that line of doing the work to make sure everything’s perfect to stepping outside and trusting someone else because that’s where the real breakthroughs come in, when each of those divisions is independent on its own.
However, when you’re in a conversation with an industry peer, a salesperson selling you a product, your management, or your people doing the meaningful work, and you’re hearing vernacular you are not following 100%, you better get back to work. You’ve got to, on a quarterly basis, pick five to ten projects, do a deep dive, sit right next to the people doing the meaningful work, watch what they’re doing, listen to the conversations, and get back up to speed.
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Back To Work
I’m going to call this podcast Back to Work. I’m going to do it because it’s the polar opposite of episode 323 where I talk about You Can’t Make Money If You’re Working. It’s a good twelve to fifteen-minute segment on creating wealth in two different ways. This is different. We had a very interesting week. Kerri and I flew out to London, met with two different, what I’ll call affinity partners, one partner we buy multiple websites from every week and another partner helps us do some high-level marketing on certain types of projects both internal and with site partner. We had some interesting dialogue discussions, learned a lot, shared a lot of our new vision for 2018.
That was the precursor though. We were on a pit stop heading to our office in Bucharest to meet with a manager there, Marianne, and some of his new folks help him understand the difference between renting an office and owning an office. The mindset shift because we have to double the size of our office out there. Marianne is on a hunt for a building instead of leasing and renting space. As little bit of a precursor, it was on the flight home where I wrote down the podcast idea Back to Work.
What I mean by that is this podcast is going to be like a two by four to the head of managers. It’s going to be like a laser to some of the executives. It’s also going to be a little bit of foreshadowing to the entrepreneur that has say ten or less employees that’s currently still grinding. Matter of fact, I’m going to even say 50 or less employees and the entrepreneur is still in the daily grind working and working. This is going to be some foreshadowing of a landmine to watch out for and not step on.
Here’s what I mean by that. I learned a valuable lesson. We’ve got a company that has 120 plus employees, 150-ish if you count part timer, subcontractors in different facets. We have eight different divisions. Here’s the thing. Even three, four years ago on a day-to-day basis, I was deeply involved in every one of our eight divisions, whether it was graphic design of a website, content creation, link building, email marketing, general overall strategy, definitely if it was troubleshooting, but then my favorite is overall strategic planning of an individual project or a group of projects.
I was in the day-to-day like there’s nobody’s tomorrow. I was in it. I then, through mentorship and coaching, learned that although I do find tremendous joy in that, the longer I stay in the day-to-days, the faster and quicker I’m going to shackle this company and keep us at the same spot financially. I have to remove myself and go with faith, trust other people, and let them run, so that my vision can go oversee these divisions.
Everybody right now that has a 50-person or less company, you’re right now going through the same phase. You’re trying to walk that line of doing the work to make sure everything’s perfect to stepping outside and trusting into someone else because that’s where the real breakthroughs come in, when each of these divisions is independent on its own. Then you’re cooking with gas.
Here’s a mistake I made. I learned from some mentors that I need to prove my faith in other people by, to a degree, disappearing. I needed to go away for months at a time. I needed to truly take some time off and write books. I needed to podcast at length. I need to speak from stages. I need to leave so that I can then come back and make some adjustments and tweaks and then go back and coach our own people for a period of time, so that I can leave again. This is what a lot of entrepreneurs, especially a serial entrepreneur, does when they’re trying to create multiple different column financial modules. Here’s something I forgot along the way. You cannot expect what you don’t inspect.
That’s a very common thought process. I hadn’t been inspecting much of anything on a granular level for at least two and a half, three years. I did not lift the lid of a website in maybe close to four years. I certainly haven’t helped tweak a design or give input to a logo or lift a strategic plan and change it. I didn’t provide granular input for years. I go out to London. I have some very deep conversations with some of the people working on some of our projects on top of our team.
Then I go to Bucharest and talk to Marianne about exactly what these 47 content writers are working on and the fifteen link builders and this and that. It became very clear how much I still knew about the day-to-days of these individual projects, but at the same time, some of the vernacular that these guys were sharing with me and Kerri was scary because I was not following with all the nooks and crannies.
I’ll give you one. Google has made some pretty large meta-description changes. It used to be about 160 characters for the Meta descriptions of a website or a page. They’ve now expanded to say 300. The gravity of what that means and the different industries that it impacts, it’s critical to managing 900 plus contracts with 3,000 websites and yet I felt inferior. I had FOMO kick in, fear of missing out, at a very high level. It reminded me I have to get back to work.
I’ve got to on a quarterly basis, pick five to ten projects, do a deep dive, sit right next to the people doing the meaningful work, watch what they’re doing, listening to the conversations, get back up to speed because I want you to imagine this. Could you imagine if I’m already missing 10% to 20% of the vernacular now, what if I went two to three more years and I stayed out again? I would literally be almost deaf or immune to what’s going on at the grassroots level of the company.
On the flip side, a lot of people can make an argument that the CEO of Boeing certainly doesn’t know how to build or manufacturer an engine on a plane. That’s fine, but at the same time, if that CEO came through the processes starting as an engineer manufacturing engines twenty, 30, 40 years ago, I got a funny feeling if that executive took a week off, put on some overalls, and stood next to the people building engines, he or she might see something so drastically different than they thought at the granular level and they may adjust some of the decisions they make for the company.
What am I saying? If you are currently managing projects, if you are currently managing people, if you’re currently captaining the management of other managers, I’m going to suggest rather strongly that you take like a staycation. Take three days off, put on your overalls, put on whatever bibs or whatever the people doing the meaningful work wear. If they are a bunch of programmers, go get a hoodie and some sweats and go sit next to them in the clothes they’re wearing and talk to them.
Sit there, watch what they’re doing. Take three full days, go to lunch with these people, take them to dinner, and talk to them and see if there is vernacular going on that you’re not following. If there is, it’s time for you to go back to school. Maybe take a class or do this on a bimonthly basis for a couple of days until your back up to speed and you’re back working again.
I got scared to death in both of these meetings when these folks were talking at such a fast rate of things that I was following 90% but not 100. As soon as you have the fear of missing out and you’re in a conversation, whether it’s an industry peer, a salesperson selling you a product, your management or your people doing the meaningful work, as soon as you’re hearing vernacular, you are not following 100%. You better get scared because the people on the other end of that conversation, it will register in your eyes.
They will know they have something on you and they will know that they are in a position of strength. You are in a position of weakness and if word gets out that the person at the top doesn’t know what’s going on, that spreads like cancer. I have seen that dozens if not hundreds of times. This podcast is not for everybody, but for episode 324, for you leaders out there, you managers out there, you executives out there, it might be time you get back to work. Hope this helps. Take care.