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Are You a Leader? Fire Yourself! (Article)

After reading E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber, I fired myself.
The decision allowed my company to flourish and grow and it will make yours much more successful too.
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Here’s what I mean:
The main message of E-Myth is that you should turn your company into a franchise–not literally, but in the sense that you make sure each and every job function is documented well enough that you can turn it over to someone else if you need to.
You should fire yourself, especially from the jobs that, with your handling them, stand in the way of your company’s growth. As a result of E-Myth’s teachings, I fire myself from the jobs that I once thought were too important to give to others. And when I work with companies that are stalled with growth, I find that it’s the owner’s lack of delegation that most often is getting in the way.

Before I read the E-Myth, I managed all projects at my company. I priced every project and assigned staff members to every single client engagement. This practice was, quite frankly, crazy and unnecessary because I am surrounded by a very capable group of people. All of them are highly educated and experienced, and they possess a strong sense of the work that needs to be accomplished. Still, I felt that I was the only one who could properly divvy out the projects. What’s more, I was afraid that handing over this important function would cause our company to lose two of our strongest competitive advantages–speed and agility. The truth that I realize now: I didn’t want to give up control.
If you don’t feel comfortable handing tasks over to your employees, why do you have them?

By being unwilling to give up control, I was spending most of my time working in my business, not on it. In other words, I was in the weeds every day and I had no time left to think strategically. I was also keeping others on my team from learning how the company runs, and creating a vacuum of lost information as projects were passed from our sales team to the delivery team.
On top of that, I found my time consumed in unfortunate ways. One year we signed a substantial amount of client work just before July 4th. I spent the entire holiday locked away in a dark dreary room working out project calendars while the rest of the family enjoyed the pool and each other.

I turned over project management to other leaders of my company and can’t even tell you which staff person is assigned to which project anymore. We never lost any business, and we deliver work more effectively because the whole team now understands the rationale behind our various project proposals. In fact, we increased our project size and volume by 35% after I stepped out of the way.

Of course, I still know what’s happening at the company. I can easily find answers if I need an update on a specific project. I gave up control, not knowledge.

So what about you? Are you working in your business, or on your business?

Take a small step and fire yourself today by identifying something simple that you are doing that could be done better by someone else. Enjoy greater efficiency and effectiveness. Focus on what your company needs you to do: strategic direction and vision. Repeat!

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