We spend a significant amount of time, especially in the early phase of our business, trying to answer the question: are you the CEO or an employee today? Each day we wake up to a list of tasks, functions, and responsibilities to tackle in our roles. Each day it’s us against the work, trying to figure out what we can do, what we must do, what we can pass off, or what we can hold out on until later.
So my question for you today is where are you spending your time? Are you working on your business or in your business?
For me, I would define the function for working on my business when I am doing things like hiring team members, training people, working on creating and validating my vision, thinking through and mapping out business strategies, or creating new business lines within my company. In other words, the work I have listed here is more thought and people-leadership-centered. I consider those functions more of a “working on my business” action than working in my business. And in essence, these are the key actions that CEOs take and deliver upon in their roles.
Conversely, answering emails, answering the phone for basic client inquiries, running data or numbers, pulling reports, packaging a product, etc. are actions I would consider the responsibility of an employee. Those are pieces we can easily train someone to do. They have to be done. They are valuable and critical to the business, but someone else but you can do them. These are functions I would consider as “working in my business” types of actions.
Realizing now that there are two hats you wear in your business currently, I want you to sit down and do an activity. This is your challenge for the day. I want you to define what CEO work or “working on your business” means to you and then I want you to define what employee work or “working in your business” means to you. Create definitions for both of these workgroups.
Then take a piece of paper and create two columns, one for CEO and one for the employee.
I want you to take at least 10 minutes to think about all of the work you do within your business. When an idea comes in your head, write it down under one of the columns on the paper. Is that action CEO work or is it employee work? List it accordingly. At the end of the exercise, you should have two lists of work actions you perform in your business.
Now, what is your list showing you? When you look at the finalized list you should have a better understanding of how you would answer the question: are you the CEO or an employee of your company? Are you surprised by all of the work that you do? Are you surprised at which list is longer, which column has the most information in it?
Reflect on this for a period of time today. What does this mean to you? How do you feel you are pushing your business forward now seeing this list?
Listen in tomorrow (episode 128) to hear how to use this list to do a time audit of your workweek. While the list of functions may be shorter or longer for one of the workgroups, where you spend your time is going to ultimately tell you how productive you are being as the CEO.