Case Study: Doug Mentzer
To say Doug has a lot of irons in the fire is a negligent understatement.
He’s actively involved in four different businesses – two he owns and two he shares with partners – and occupies a leadership position in all of them.
Two businesses are technical in nature, one is a publishing company, and the fourth is his investment firm.
So as a leader in all four businesses, Doug was continually having a million things come up that demanded his time and energy – things that weren’t necessarily the best use of his time and energy – like, bills, placing orders, and scheduling.
But as is often the case with leaders like Doug, leading and running four businesses isn’t enough.
He’s also in a band, very active in his church, and a competitive obstacle-course racer. Oh, and he also has two children.
As we mentioned: lots of irons in the fire. And he was the first to admit that “… things had gotten pretty hectic.”
What he needed was dedicated help.
“There is a good bit of staff at each of the businesses, but what I was finding is with all the various things that I had going on, there wasn’t necessarily someone who worked specifically for me,” Doug says.
Unsurprisingly, Doug was overloaded with email “like a lot of entrepreneurs,” he says, “but my biggest pain points – maybe even more than email – was just all these projects that needed to get done that really were going to have to be driven by me, whether it’s because I had the knowledge or it was of my making. And I was the one that knew how to do it or what needed to be done.”
So Kate got to work. She helped to get his email, calendar and some communications under control.
“Initially, when we first got started in January, there was just a lot of basic work on email and calendar and getting some tools set up,” he says.
But more importantly, she got Doug out from under an overwhelming backlog.
“But once we really got [email and scheduling] under control, we started moving forward on getting projects taken care of,” he says. “I had a huge backlog of things that needed to get done that were going to have to be driven by me that I didn’t have time to focus on or knock out.”
“Kate’s proven very adaptable in kind of jumping from business to business,” he says. “She’s had no problem just jumping from one to another.”
And while Kate was checking everything off of self-proclaimed type-A Doug’s lists, he was again able to focus on that which only he could do.
“We got to where we were past working on email and calendar – and could focus on bigger-picture stuff,” he shares.
And instead of doing those “unimportant things,” Doug was able to look to – and plan for – the future, asking, “‘What’s next? What are we pivoting to? How do we serve our clients better?’” he explains.
“Planning for the future, driving the business forward – those are things that I was missing,” he says. “There was just so much time spent trying to keep the hole from getting deeper – but it’s not what the leader should be doing.”
“Now, I’m moving things forward as opposed to just cleaning up a hundred items that I didn’t get to during the day,” he says. “I’m able to focus on driving the business forward, serving clients better, vision-casting.
“I think, personally, I’ve also gotten some peace that if I’m going to work tonight, it’s going to be on important stuff and not sitting around, cleaning up yesterday’s emails.
“Kate and I really hit it off from the beginning, built some good trust really early, and we’ve been running it all. It’s been fantastic.”
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