As the leader of a multi-branded outdoor living franchise company, I have a lot of demands on my time – setting the corporate culture, guiding operations, strategic planning, franchise recruiting, franchise relations, shareholder and lender relations, employee issues, and, of course, responsibility for the financial performance of the overall enterprise – all of these activities require regular attention.  Most days, there are simply far more demands on my time than I have time!

This can be frustrating at times.  I’m a perfectionist and want to do it all. However, as a leader, I am learning to force myself to allocate time to the activities that will grow our company.  This takes discipline and constant evaluation of whether my activities and time are focused on the “right things” that will drive the long-term growth of this organization.  It is simply too easy to get consumed by the daily operational and administrative demands of the business.  However, leadership means responsibility – to franchisees, employees, lenders and shareholders.  Leadership also means being accountable.  

I’m working to be accountable to myself each day in an analysis of how I spent the day – did I focus on the right activities that will drive this organization forward over the next 5-10 years?  While the discipline can be hard, it’s not a difficult process.  Just stop before you leave the office and think about how you spent the last 10-12 hours.  If it was not on the right things, then re-set the priorities for tomorrow!  Every day bring a fresh opportunity to get it right.

It is also an exercise in trusting the people around me.  We are fortunate to have an exceptionally strong leadership team.  I trust the team to accomplish the operational priorities and try to stay out of their way to let them achieve great things.  It is also necessary from time to time to hold them accountable to solve issues and challenges without having them “bubble up” to me.  If too many issues reach me, I’m placing a constraint on the long-term growth and development of the organization and our people.

As you assess where you are in achieving your personal, financial and career goals, I urge you to do the same thing I do everyday – challenge yourself by asking if you have focused every hour of everyday on doing the things that will allow you to reach your goals.  If not, make the changes in your daily routine that will allow you to successfully reach your goals!

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