When you start a business, you wear every hat. These ‘hats’ might include:
- managing director
- sales and marketing
- product design
- service delivery
- finance and accounting
- sorting out the post
- doing the photocopying (showing my age there!)
As you take on employees, so you give away these hats one at a time. Some will be given away willingly; others you may find you need to give away as you become busier and busier.
As you pass on each hat, you will hopefully be doing so to a person that you have assessed as being suitable, who you trust to wear the hat instead of you. They should ideally be better at the job than you were, as you only performed the role because there was no one else around to do it.
You are then left with the jobs that you enjoy and are best at.
Often, however, those hats are handed over to whoever is available. As a consequence, the hats you are left with are not always the ones you enjoy – and, just maybe, are not best suited for.
Which leads me to ask the question – if you interviewed yourself for your current job, would you get it?
Roles And Responsibilities
One activity all companies should undergo every once in a while, is a roles and responsibilities exercise. This is especially true of companies which are still founder owned.
This exercise involves:
- writing down all the things that need to be done within the business
- grouping them into roles
- summarising the skills and attributes required of the ideal person to perform that role
- comparing this with the people currently in those roles
Not only does this provide a gap analysis between what the business needs versus what it has, it also sets the criteria for interviewing for future roles.
The Interview Process
At its heart, interviewing is very simple. You identify the skills and attributes of the role you want someone to perform. Then you ask questions of the interviewee to ascertain if they hold those skills and attributes.
Interviewing should be less a test or an ordeal and much more about seeing if someone would be the ideal fit for the role. An interview isn’t something to pass or fail, but an assessment by both parties on suitability.
Given this process of giving away ‘hats’ as the business grows, therefore, the roles and responsibilities exercise should also be applied to the founder.
If you are an owner and founder, try this exercise.
Step 1: Write down everything you do for a few weeks. No need to duplicate – after a week or more, you may find that you don’t add much to the list
Step 2: Can you group these tasks into roles? You may have some tasks left over that don’t fit into an obvious role.
Step 3: Sit down with those roles and tasks, and ask yourself these questions:
- Do you enjoy what you do?
- Are you best suited to what you do?
- Is there anything you want to do but you can’t because you are too busy doing these roles?
You’re the boss – why not spend your time doing what you enjoy and are good at?
Making Yourself The Least Important Person In The Business
There is one other criterion you may wish to apply to this list. If you left the business, who would perform these tasks?
As we say at the Eternal Business Consultancy, one of the main objectives of every business owner is to make themselves the least important person in their business. If you are the most important, you can’t leave.
Given this, what are the tasks that you might start giving away to others? In the short term, this could increase your enjoyment, as you being to focus on doing the things that you want to do.
In the medium and longer term, this becomes your succession plan.