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Here's An "Undo" Button Every Leader Could Use

Here's An "Undo" Button Every Leader Could Use

March 04, 2008

Do you ever find yourself looking for an 'undo' button on things other than your computer?

We've been spoiled by our computers. Wrote something you don't like? Don't worry, just undo it. Need to make a change in the middle of an email? Undo it. It seems as if everything should come with an undo button.

I was getting myself a drink out of the vending machine the other day when I realized I accidentally selected the wrong button and I found myself looking for the 'undo' button. I always seem to be looking for it on the microwave or on the copy machine.

Wouldn't it be nice to have an 'undo' button in your business? It would be like the Staples 'easy' button, but this one would be a big, green 'undo' button. Got a marketing piece or ad that just isn't performing well? Hit the 'undo' button and try again. Want to begin the year again and start over as you originally planned? Don't worry. Just hit the 'undo' button. (Remember, if you start seeing ads for people using an 'undo' button, you heard it here first!)

How to 'undo' time spent on unproductive things

In all seriousness, I think the biggest thing I hear business owners want to undo is how they spend their time. So often business owners I talk with are frustrated that they're spending their time on things that either aren't enjoyable or on busy work that just doesn't seem to have an impact on the business.

They just want to undo the decisions along the way that got them to that point.

It's incredibly frustrating. You find yourself doing the very things you said you didn't want to do and you have no one else to blame but yourself.

Well, I'm here to tell you that you really can 'undo' it, although it may not be as easy as hitting a button. And if you do want to change how you spend your time, then I also have to say, 'Congratulations!' I mean it. Most people would rather not tackle such a big issue and prefer to stay frustrated and instead spend even more time on busy work instead of highly productive work.

You see, there are two types of time.

There is Productive Time (PT) and Super Productive Time (SPT). Productive Time is time spent on doing things that are productive and contribute in some way to the business. Super Productive Time, on the other hand, is time spent setting up systems and making hard decisions and alliances necessary to turn your vision into reality.

To illustrate this contrast, productive time for a store owner would be time spent selling products to customers. Super Productive Time would be time spent setting up systems for other people to sell the same products to more customers, or creating lead-generation systems to drive traffic into the store and develop systems to convert those leads into sales.

As the leader, your business should revolve around you.

Too many times, I talk with business leaders who one day find themselves doing the work that no one else can do or is not willing to do. That's backwards. You're role is NOT to support your employees. They're on your staff to support YOU!

A 4-step process to "undo" your role

Let me give you my 4-step process to help you 'undo' your role and turn things around.

Step 1: To determine where you should be spending your Super Productive, you first need to figure out your core competencies. These are your gifts and talents. They're the things you enjoy doing because they leverage your skills. They're the things you do better than anyone else because you're passionate about them.

Step 2: Make a list of the resources or types of employees (sales people, human resources professionals, operations experts, etc.) you will you need to do the things you've doing so you can focus on those things that you're passionate about in the business.

Step 3: Ask yourself: How will this change from Productive Time to Super Productive Time benefit your prospects? Remember, this change should have a significant impact on how you do business. If it doesn't, reconsider the change you're planning to make so it has a greater impact.

Step 4: Evaluate the impact this change in focus will have on you and your business. Is it going to drain you of time, energy and money? Or will it bring you closer to better serving your prospects and growing your business?

Take your time going through this 4-step process. It can be one of the most powerful things you do this year as you move from Productive Time to Super Productive Time. And who knows, you may not even need that 'undo' button.
Taking you from where you are to where you want to go,
Jon