We are honored to have Steve Perkins on the blog today. He the founder and CEO of Greenhouse Culture, helping people get unstuck, clarify their Sweetspot, and get intentional about making their greatest contribution. He’s here to tell us how we can grow our businesses faster.
It’s a bit of a trick question. Product, strategy, and culture are great places to start, but at the end of the day a business only grows as fast as its leaders. The leaders can get in or out of the way.
The leaders can become the bottleneck.
As an entrepreneur and business owner, I struggle with this. I want every hour to count as ten hours. I want to move fast and grow. But I hit the limits of my own time, energy, and ability. And even when I get smart to delegate, I tell myself that I don’t have time to slow down and make the handoff.
I always keep a Top 5 list of business books for my clients. One that’s been in there for a while is one of my favorite books on leadership, growth, and productivity. I think it’s a favorite because I’ve always been interested in maximizing potential, but this book takes it even further. Multiplication is about working and leading in a way that produces results many times greater than your personal potential. Like a greenhouse for your efforts!
The book is called Multipliers, by Liz Wiseman & Greg Mckeown.
They talk about things like how the 20th century was about maximizing manual work productivity, but the 21st century needs to do the same for knowledge work. About how some of the greatest contributors in different industries were people who moved from being a genius, to a genius-maker. People who identified potential in others, and spent their primary energy developing and empowering those people to do what they were meant to do. Leaders whose focus was not to be superior, but for their people to leave interactions feeling smarter than them.
Now… let’s come back to daily reality. That kind of multiplier is a worthy aim. A great goal to work towards. But what about right now? Are there any quicker wins for un-becoming the bottleneck, multiplying your efforts, and growing your business?
I’ve found 3 solutions to this question. And since I’m an optimizer, they are also solutions that you can try without major investment. Here they are:
Track where you (or your team) spend time for a week. At the end of the week, look at the top 5 categories and ask yourself, “How could I automate this?”. Some might need to be manual or personal. But if not, do a quick search for tools or websites that can do the job for you. Or if it suits your personality better, ask a few people what tools they know of. This may sound simple, but we often get so used to our normal way of operating that we don’t realize the opportunities for change. Last time I did this, I had to spend a few days setting up the tools/systems, but it saved me 10 hours per week moving forward.
Take another look at that time tracking you did. Do YOU need to do each of those? What would happen if someone else owned some of those items? Personality assessments would even suggest that others can do some of those items better than you. Or maybe you could just delegate the setup and management of the new automation tools/systems you found in the exercise above? The obvious prerequisite is that you need someone to delegate TO. Other than existing staff, one of the quickest most flexible solutions is a virtual assistant. And a high quality virtual assistant will even bring value to the table that you weren’t seeing, or that you didn’t have bandwidth to think about. When I hired a virtual assistant, I saw an immediate 45% productivity gain on my time, and it keeps growing.
Operate in your Sweetspot. The biggest impact you can have in your business is spending the majority of your time doing what you’re uniquely made to do. Your passions and strengths. Of course, this requires having crystal clarity on what those things are. But once you get intentional and figure out what that Sweetspot is, you can take concrete steps toward spending 80% of your time there, and 20% on the rest. A simple way to take these steps is to create a 2×2 plot – effort on the x-axis and impact on the y-axis. List out the various activities in your work, and just use your gut to plot them on the grid. Then ask yourself which of the low-effort high-impact activities align with your Sweetspot? Even small steps in this direction will yield big results, and there are other resources to make this shift.
WHAT’S YOUR NEXT STEP TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS?
So what will you do to help yourself and your business grow in line with your potential? How can you shift into the multiplier mindset? What’s your next step?
Steve Perkins is very familiar with the feeling of untapped potential. He spent 12 years searching for his career sweet spot, from building superconducting particle accelerators, to launching a culture transformation within a Fortune 500 company, yet always feeling that he wasn’t making the impact he was meant to make. After discovering his sweet spot, he started a company to help others clarify and step into theirs! And Steve is now the founder and CEO of Greenhouse Culture, helping people get unstuck, clarify their Sweetspot, and get intentional about making their greatest contribution.