Leading a Team and Managing Your Time to Focus on Growth
“You don’t lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case.” – Ken Kesey
How to Lead a Team
Charles Plumb a U.S Navy jet pilot was serving in Vietnam when after 75 combat missions his plane was shot down by a surface-to-air missile. Plumb was ejected and parachuted into enemy hands, spending six years in a Vietnamese prison.
One day sitting in a restaurant a man came up to Plumb and said “You’re Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down!”. Plumb responded, “How in the world did you know that?”
“I packed your parachute,” replied the man. The man then shook his head and said, “I guess it worked!”
Plumb assured him, “It sure did. If your chute hadn’t worked, I wouldn’t be here today.”
Later that night, Plumb couldn’t sleep for thinking about the man. He wondered about how many times he might have seen that man without acknowledging him because as Plumb said “I was a fighter pilot and he was just a sailor.”
Charles Plumb is now a motivational speaker and after finishing his story he asks, “Who is packing your parachute?”
Praising those in your team and acknowledging their input as a team in your business growth and success is an essential element that can be easy to forget but simple to do. Saying hello in the morning, bringing them a coffee or simply saying thanks for doing a good job. As a solopreneur you might think this is not relevant for you, but your team is similar to a small business, it is all the people that help your business to grow: clients, virtual PA, printing company, office rental, accountant, etc. All of the work that you outsource to someone is part of your team.
How to Manage Your Time to Focus on Growth
Top tip #1: Make a list of tasks for the week.
The Eisenhower Time Matrix
Set some time aside before Monday morning to write down all of the tasks you need to do the following week. Look at the list and decide which are urgent and which are important. You could mark a ‘u’ for urgent and a ‘i’ for important. Some of your tasks will fit both categories so do these first, some are important but not urgent so schedule these in, some are urgent but not important so delegate them if you can e.g. admin work by a virtual PA and some are neither urgent nor important so do these last of all.
An important point to remember is that sales is essential to your business growth, but it’s not always viewed as urgent, yet it should be. This can be sales work such as speaking to existing clients to upsell or range sell and speaking to new clients to sell your products.
Top tip #2: Use your weekly task list to create a schedule.
Keep your task list in sight and open your digital or paper calendar and begin to schedule in all of your tasks for the view. Use your judgement of how long you expect them to take and include ‘buffer’ time of 1-3 hours for the week in half hour segments. This ‘buffer’ time is for interruptions and unexpected events that take you away from your scheduled work. Remember to add in your time for sales. This will be calls, emails, meetings, client research, post-call reporting, networking, updating CRM, and more.
Top tip #3: Be disciplined with your schedule.
Sticking to a schedule is never easy as it sounds. The modern life has many distractions including social media and technology. Be prepared for this by blocking out interruptions with some killer software such as Rescue Time and StayFocusd, both of which you can use on your phone or laptop. Find your motivation to stick to your schedule. Link it in to your personal or professional goals, for example, keeping that time for sales so that you can take on a new employee. Remembering the reasons why you do something can help you to stay on track.
Top tip #4: Review your schedule regularly and assess efficiency.
Set aside time at end of week to review the preceding week before planning the following week. Check whether you were able to complete all the urgent and important tasks. Be honest with yourself on how much time you spent on tasks that were not important and urgent. If you spend too much time on tasks that aren’t important or urgent e.g. too much time spent watching videos of cats, then what will help you to stay focused? Do you need a reward system to stay accountable?
Top tip #5: Delegate where necessary.
After reviewing your goals check to see if too much of your time is being eaten up by tasks that you can outsource or delegate to others. For a solopreneur this may seem a little impractical but tasks that are not high priority to your business growth you can give to others e.g. filing. By allocating these tasks can you free up more time to spend on sales which is critical to your business growth?
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