So you have started your business and there are times when you feel so overwhelmed that you just feel like throwing in your hat and quitting.
Here are a few tips on how you should spend your time on each of the roles that you will have to play or for purposes of this article the “hats” you may have to wear at any given time.
Architect’s hat: while wearing this hat, you are designing the business model or foundation for the entire business. You are working on key questions such as Who is the customer? What problem is the company solving? How does the organisation make money? “If you get the business model right, your life is easy, but If you get the business model wrong, your life is hard.
Engineer’s hat: While wearing the engineer’s hat you are building the systems and processes that will help the business grow. Startups make up for a lack of systems and processes with talent. But as the company grows, it needs to make investments in order to run more efficiently. Failure to create more mature systems and processes will inhibit its growth.
Coach’s hat: Here you are working with employees to encourage the best outcome. Ensuring that the right players are in the right positions at all times while developing talent for future needs.
Player’s hat: there are times when you need to pitch in to help complete a task or project. It’s only natural that you will want to spend time doing what you are most comfortable and talented in and this can be very effective, especially in the early stages of growth. Do not however, spend too much time wearing the player’s hat and fail to tackle the unique challenges that come with being the leader and sacrifice long-term strategy for short-term gains.
Learner’s hat: This hat keeps you at the top of your game as you are the only person with a vantage point to be able to see the entire playing field. It is your responsibility to always be learning and applying insights to the business. By devoting a few days every quarter to learning both about the internal and external to the business (customers, products and competitors) you can gain valuable insight.
Priest’s hat: You wear this hat to keep morale high. (please substitute another term to represent your personal spiritual of advisor) Walking around while managing lets employees appreciate that the leader cares. By being a sounding board for employees who have ideas, problems or frustrations, someone who’s in a position to help or guide them in working within the organisational structure to resolve an issue or make something happen. Coach the managers in a subtle way. (Like a priest who hears confession, keep the source confidential.) Building trusted relationships with front-line employees is invaluable to a CEO.
Now the major question? How much time should the you spend in each role? This depends on the organisation’s stage of growth, but three roles have the highest value because they continue to pay off over time… the architect, engineer and coach. You should spend 35% to 50% of your time for optimum the continued growth of the business.