Entrepreneurs start their businesses with passion, enthusiasm, and energy that bubbles over. This excitement is part of what attracts people to them. One of the easiest ways to quickly diminish this energy is to attempt to carry the weight of the entire business on their shoulders. Successful businesses have always been the result of great teamwork – not the result of a few heroic actions by the founder.
Firing yourself is a reminder to get out of your own way and bring on other talented people who not only share, but add to the enthusiasm of helping grow your business. Here are three simple guides to help identify the tasks/roles you might consider firing yourself.
1) Tasks/roles that don’t utilize your strengths.
It helps to have a consistent framework for understanding and communicating strengths (Clifton StrengthsFinder is my favorite). When our strengths are activated, we easily become calmly productive, highly effective, fully engaged, and emotionally nourished. When the majority of our work doesn’t align with our strengths; we require external motivations/incentives, struggle to stay focused, and operate in a state of stress that actually weakens our immune systems.
Aligning everyone’s tasks to activate their specific strengths is a great way to build happy and healthy work environments that need less management.
2) Tasks/roles where you lack skills/knowledge/experience.
While Marketing and Accounting are specifically not identified as strengths, they are undeniably areas where skills, knowledge, and experience can be very valuable. This often makes it impractical to be an ‘expert’ in all the diverse facets of business. Working too far outside of your comfort zone can easily become an inefficient use of time – a task that takes you 20+ hours to complete can likely be done (to equal or better quality) by the right person in about 4 hours.
3) Tasks/roles that you don’t enjoy doing.
You can’t be expected to bring your best self to tasks you don’t enjoy doing. Take a few moments each day to recognize the tasks you particularly did not enjoy doing. Write them down and notice how your feelings on those tasks impacted other tasks that came afterwards. Chances are that your discomfort leads to the discomfort of others.
Maybe it was the timing of task, other parties involved, or the task itself – all are easy changes to make for a better work environment.
In keeping regular tabs on these three categories; it likely won’t take you more than 3-4 months to create a full list of tasks and roles that should no longer be their direct responsibility. While some of these will need to be filled by full-time employees, you might consider offering the list to current staff as ‘up for grabs’ where they can choose which to take off your hands or recommend worthwhile applicants or vendors to fill the role. Or look to the plethora of freelance-dedicated sites where all matter of skills can be contracted to fit your short-term or long-term needs.
Another aspect that has come in handy for many clients is to set a high price for your time ($350/hour or more). After cataloguing all your tasks for a week, ask yourself the following question;
“Who can I get to do this better than me, for less than what I charge?”
The beauty of firing yourself is that it allows you to re-prioritize and re-direct your time to areas that utilize your strengths, align with your competencies, and bring you joy.
I recommend firing yourself at least twice each year in order to find what it is that you can contribute of highest value to your business. Extend the policy across your staff (with minimal constraints) and you will find it easy to build a growing company filled with highly engaged employees.