Jerry Colonna coaches venture-backed CEOs, and he’s coached a boatload of them! He’s worked with the CEOs of Etsy, Foursquare, Intuit, and Soundcloud to name a few. But not just when they are big and famous; he works with many folks who are in their startup phase.
On a recent podcast, he said of the CEOs he works with,
I’d like you bored at four o’clock on Friday afternoon. Bored. Literally looking at your to-do list like, “I’m done.” (Jerry Colonna at 6:25 in Operator’s Manual #4)
How would that feel? Does that sound crazy to you? The first time I heard him say it, I thought it was a little crazy!
What is mine to do?
One of the problems with running your show is that it’s hard to be clear on what is yours to do.
Especially while we’re building our management team, the CEO’s job becomes “everything there’s no one else to do.”
I have a Creative Director, so I don’t have to be the creative director anymore! (But I kind of liked that work…) so instead, I’m the Head of Sales (which I don’t like doing), and do the bookkeeping and HR (which I’m not even good at)! Whoo Hoo, fun!
If that’s your job, your work will never end!
Build the engine
Your job is not to “do all the things,” and especially not “do all the things no one else wants to do!” Your job is to build the engine, the system, the container, in which all the things get done. Ideally, your job is to set the vision, hire and train the team, and create measurements to keep your team moving toward your vision and get out of the way.
But until you’ve built that team, you will have to “do the thing” sometimes. When you have to “do the thing,” your job is to create the system so that it can be handed off. If you’re the Director of HR, document a process and hand it off. If you’re the bookkeeper, just stop that and hire a bookkeeper. They are going to do it so much better.
But don’t take my word for it; listen in as Jerry lays it all out for you.
Then pause and think, what am I doing that’s not mine to do? How do I get it off my plate?