Focus and Balance

So much in life—and business—depends on context. 

For example, if you're running a large business and have many direct reports, all who manage a different function, your role is to manage the vision and strategy of the company, only checking-in and course correcting on the rest. However, if you're running a startup or a small company, you have to be willing and able to wear many hats and zoom from bigger picture to day-to-day minutia. 

The flip side is that as your company grows, you have to delegate and let go, which is very hard for many to do.

A good way to look at this is opportunity cost. If you're handling customer support instead of hiring someone else to do so, what is the loss to your business? Or worst yet, if you do hire someone to handle customer support and keep interfering since you want it done your way, then not only is there an opportunity loss—but you've also wasted the money spent on this customer support person. (See previous post on micromanaging for more downside on this approach.)

A leader needs to figure out the appropriate things to focus on, depending on the size and stage of their business, always balancing between the short-term/long-term and bigger picture/minutia. 

I can't give you a formula for this, nor is there one right answer. Everyone will unfortunately have to figure out the right focus and balance for their situation, and be prepared to learn from their mistakes (and/or get outside help to help figure this out, if they can't do it on their own). But don't forget to step back every quarter to see if it's time to readjust where you spend your time and energy.

Takeway: as your company scales and you hire more people, be prepared to shift your focus to more of a strategic, bigger-picture view.

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