I Love My Business, But I Hate Having To Do The Details That I’m Not Naturally Suited For (Lesson 1)

Over the years, when I have suggested to various clients the need to find an operational soul mate, it very often gets greeted with a nod and a “yeah, we’ll get right on that.” People think I am talking about another admin person—someone who can fulfil a skills shortage.

On the face of it, I can see how they come to that conclusion. I am trying to free up business owners’ time so they can flourish. So, they assume that an assistant or admin person can take that pressure off.

When they come back to me and say, “Oh, yes, we’ve hired a temp and if they work out, we’ll give them a full-time role,” I want to throw them out of the window because they have acknowledged what I have said but only dealt with the most superficial layer of the issue. They have also opted for the cheapest possible “solution.”

Of course, it’s not a solution at all. It is absolutely vital that you understand the finer points of your own requirements. As a business owner, it’s not just about keeping your time using Excel to a minimum, it’s about understanding where your skills are lacking and finding someone who can offer helpful advice with their own skills. Also, they should be doing this naturally, through anticipation, awareness and insight—not as a result of constant instruction.  

Their natural skillset should be complementary to your skills gap. They should be excited and motivated when you want to roll your eyes at the thought of actually getting the task done. They should be able to quantify your vision in such a way as to help you filter your ideas and make the most of your creativity. Similarly, you should be able to trust their judgement, respect their objectivity, understand their caution and heed their warnings.

Together, you should be an unstoppable force of nature. You should be fearless in your pursuit of perfection, progress and profit. In a business sense you should be able to finish each other’s sentences in so much as you, the visionary entrepreneur, start a sentence in the form of an idea, and your operational other half finishes it by implementing and monitoring it until completion or fruition. 

Finding The Needle In The Haystack

You may think that finding this mythical creature, the operational other half, is as tough as finding the perfect life partner. Well, there are certainly similarities in how one would go about it.

There are, of course, attributes that are essential and non-negotiable. In the recruitment world these are skills, education and experience. There are also the personality traits that accompany those skills, and they form the DNA of the candidate, providing insight into their values and vision for their perfect role. If all of these elements fit, then there is the final part of the equation which relates to finding a common goal, purpose or vision—where both parties are on the same page in terms of the progress they want to make, the kind of organisation they want to build and their motivation for wanting success.

When the parties are introduced to one another, it is essential that these bases are covered. Much like a dating scenario, there is an attraction that makes them want to arrange a second and maybe even third meeting to move things forward and explore more of the practicalities involved.

The process is involved and a touch more specialised than simply trying to get a bum on a seat and hoping for the best. There is a requirement for honesty on both sides and an understanding as to exactly what is expected from each party. If the process is undertaken with care, consideration and consistency, then candidates can be found quickly and efficiently. What’s more, their impact can be exceptionally quick, too.

I have seen huge results occur in as little as six weeks. No matter the speed of the physical impact on the business, the impact on the entrepreneur business owner is much faster. I have seen years wiped from the brow of individuals minutes after a job offer has been accepted!

Knowing that there is now an operational plan in place to improve the current situation is very often enough for the fog to clear and the sun to come out.