When Mike Michalowicz, my friend and mentor, first discussed the idea of Clockwork with me, I won’t lie and tell you I wasn’t nervous. The idea of letting some things go and allowing other people to step in and handle them felt scary. I mean, as a business owner some things can only be done by you, right?
That’s what I was thinking too as I began to Clockwork my own business, but at the end of the process when I had returned from the designated 4-week vacation, I was amazed to find my business still standing. In fact, myself and my business were operating even better than before and I had more time to focus on creating and directing now that I wasn’t head down in work that someone else was easily doing in my place.
As the launch of Mike’s updated and revised version of Clockwork is coming up on August 30th, I wanted to go over some of the concepts in the book and how it can help you and your business! If you have those same feelings of doubt and the desire to free up some of your time, let’s talk more about how Clockwork can help.
The 4 D’s
The 4 D’s of Management is a principle discussed in the book that is going to change how you and your employees operate. They are Doing, Deciding, Delegating, and Designing. If you’re just starting out and don’t have any employees yet, you’re probably not delegating any. For those of you who do have employees, you’re looking to hand over some of the doing to others. You’ll more than likely still be doing a lot of deciding because team members seek confirmation, “just in case” they don’t have the right answer. This is when you need to delegate, and completely hand over the reins of the task. The ability to decide is now in the team member’s hands and you will need to support their decisions, whether or not you would have decided the same thing.
Once you’ve gotten through the process of delegation and got some doing off your plate, you can start designing your business to be what you want it to be. In this part of the process, you get to focus on planning, making partnerships, and growing your business into what you imagine it to be. This is where you see the work you put in during the earlier parts of the process pay off.
I most often struggle with a fifth D in the process that Mike discussed with me right after the release of the original book. This fifth D is distractions, and these come in the form of opportunities or other new things that steal our attention so we don’t know what to focus on first. By learning to say “no” and focusing on the “why” of your business, you’ll be able to pick and choose what’s important for the growth of your company.
As you delegate work to others in the organization, make sure that they are creating documentation for how they do the work. Don’t get caught in the trap that you must do this documentation because you are the only one that knows the process. It’s better for the new person, with fresh eyes and no knowledge, to develop the process.
Schedule a time to train them, recording the training if possible. Then ask the new person to write up the process that they learned. As they document the process, step by step, they will understand it more fully. When they are confused, they can discuss their questions with you, before they implement a step that is not in keeping with your process.
Once they have documented the process and you have agreed to the documentation, then that person owns the process. If in 2 weeks the software changes or they discover a better way, have them update the process documents. Since they own the process, they own the documentation too. As you work on all the processes in your organization, you will have systems that run without your involvement and that is an important step in your being able to take that 4-week vacation.
Take a Vacation
When I was first introduced to Clockwork, the idea of taking an entire month off sounding crazy to me. I just knew that my business couldn’t make it without me and my husband, our COO, that I wanted to take the break with me. Would my team be able to handle the business without us both? What major disasters would occur? How many problems would we come back to and have to clean up? I’m sure similar things are on your mind.
However, when we came back, I found that my team and my business were stronger than before! The team had tackled every challenge and kept things running as normal.
I also realized that without all the distractions of work, I was able to think clearly about why I created my business in the first place. Through stepping away and completely disconnecting from the work, I got excited again about where my business was headed and what all I wanted to make happen in the future. I came back rejuvenated and ready to push forward, and I couldn’t have done it without the advice and the process in Clockwork.