In working with entrepreneurial leadership teams, there is one challenge that consistently shows up, particularly with smaller companies. One of my clients, for whom I am implementing the Entrepreneurial Operating System, is a perfect example. He called me the other day and was frustrated and feeling overwhelmed. We have only been working together for a little over three months so his leadership team is really learning the process. They had identified and committed to completing 5 Rocks (major 90 day priorities) for the company along with several individual Rocks owned by the team members. With the quarter nearly half gone the Rocks hadn’t even been started.
They were feeling pressure. Everyone had a reason or reasons why there was no progress on the Rocks. There had been a handful of “surprise” client issues that had unexpectedly appeared. One of the senior people had to have minor surgery and was out for two weeks. They had closed a contract with a new client and had to shift man power, and so on. All of the reasons were valid. Even so, they each acknowledged at their weekly leadership team meeting that they were “Off track.” If they only had more people, they lamented, they could solve their problems. Or if they had more resources or more money they could make progress.
I thought about the discussion I had with the client and the issues they faced. I told him that their situation was actually quite common. They were not alone. They were not the first leadership team to encounter these types of difficulties and they certainly wouldn’t be the last. Smaller companies with limited resources always have a greater burden because there are fewer people to delegate to. And, they often lack the resources to go out and hire more bodies. Sometimes, even if they have the money, they can’t find the talent they need to do the work. The “bench” is shallow. So what can they do?
There is no simple answer to this problem but what I have seen successful “Entrepreneurial Operating System” companies do is: 1) do less and do it better, 2) focus on prioritizing to achieve more.
As one of my fellow implementers says, we all get sucked into “firefighting” when what we really need is “fire prevention.” Prevention needs to be the priority. Prevention is achieved when you stop working in your business and start working on your business. The early stages of the journey are difficult. Learning to implement new tools in your business is no different than learning any new skill. At first, it feels awkward almost unnatural. But with practice, you develop consistency and overcome the challenges
Just some things to think about: In the Entrepreneurial Operating System, you learn to trust the process. Becoming great leaders is a journey not a day-trip. Trust the process. The process will make more sense to you and be more effective over time. Decide which of your priorities/ Rocks are really worth focusing on now and put the ones you can’t deal with today into your Issues list to be processed when time allows.