Why “staying informed” can be bad for business

As a business coach, I speak to thousands of entrepreneurs every year. Many of them struggle to keep up with growth and demand. No matter how many hours they work, or how many to-do lists they make, they can’t seem to “keep on top of everything”. and they come to my company looking for help. And in 99.9% of cases, working more hours or another to-do list is never the solution.

The red flag

“David, apparently I can’t control everything…”

Such a simple sentence at first glance, but what it really means is.

“David, I’m not in control.”

To which my answer is: ‘Good! That’s not allowed!’

Trying to be on top of everything is usually a sign that you’re doing too much and trying to micromanage your team. Which has the opposite effect on your growth and scalability.

what you really want

Rather than trying to “stay in the loop,” you really want to understand where your business is going and what are the key areas to pay attention to. Do you really need to sign every supplier or payroll check? Do you need to see every customer service email that comes in? Or consult a vet who will repair your plumbing in the employee bathroom? New. That’s why you have competent team members to perform those tasks. You should spend your time and energy tracking the key performance indicators that matter to your business, and spend your time improving those KPIs to help your business grow. The “other” things can and should be done by your employees.

A word about responsibility

Often when I suggest to a business owner that the real problem isn’t that they can’t keep up, but the idea that they think they need to, I often get a push back and they mention one time an employee messed up , or forgot something important that created a bigger problem. And while this can happen to leaders who are “on top of it all,” chances are the problem was caused by something completely different. Did you hire the wrong person for the job? Did you do a bad job by delegating the task to another team member? Was there a gap in the follow-up process? The chances of it being a procedural issue are extremely high, meaning that with a little preparation and planning, that issue can be avoided in the future, without having to micromanage the task.

Trying to “stay informed” means you won’t have enough energy and focus at the end of the day to grow your business. So invest in competent team members and practice delegating and letting go. You will make mistakes and things will slip through the cracks, but the more you practice, the better you will get. Not only will it free you up to do more important work, but your stress level and work-life balance will also be much more manageable.

The opinions expressed here by businesstraverse.com columnists are their own, not businesstraverse.com’s.