I wish I had a full-time assistant. I see friends and colleagues who run their own companies have a full-time chief of staff, and I’m immediately motivated to scale my company so I can have someone by my side full-time, taking things off my plate.
I realize this can sound capricious, but I often feel overwhelmed with doing too many things at once and having someone full-time would allow me to focus exclusively on my highest productivity items (HPI).
As my company has grown, I’ve begun to take on more roles. Not only am I the CEO of a marketing company, but we’re scaling so fast that I’m employing roles that could easily be covered by someone else: accounting, media, operations, hiring, etc.
I’m also growing a personal brand and a business side by side, which involves traveling, keynotes, and creating content output on a daily basis.
And on top of that, I’m still competing at the highest levels in poker.
To get everything done, I can’t rely on how I’m feeling. It’s too fleeting. I’ve found that I need to engineer having a great and productive day, which requires careful planning and discipline to accomplish.
I’ve recently found a hack that’s been working really well and is easy to implement, treating myself like an employee—of myself.
It sounds crazy, but it works.
Here’s what I mean.
As entrepreneurs we have to wear different hats and take on many roles in order to succeed. This is particularly true in the beginning when we’re bootstrapping and there’s more work to do than there are people to do it.
Most of the time I’m the CEO, but I’m also playing the role of the CFO, CMO, and even being my own chief of staff. Since I have to do these roles anyway, I may as well embrace the challenge and find a way to do them most efficiently.
The idea of wearing different hats allows me to perform my best in each unique role: Looking at the situation through the lens of the unique person who actually possesses the necessary skillset to get the job done.
For example, the CEO and CFO often argue about a new project, the CEO wanting to get his vision off the ground while the CFO executes prudence in how it’s going to produce revenue for the business. Since I’m currently taking on both of these roles, I will force myself to look at the situation from the vantage point of the CEO and CEO independently. Since it’s all too tempting to talk yourself into doing what you ultimately want, I need to implement a full proof system which will ensure objectivity.
I’ve personally found that the best way to thoroughly do this process is to write everything down as each person. Then I’ll compare notes. In the case above, if the CEO and CFO aren’t in 100% agreement, I don’t move forward with a project.
Too many entrepreneurs simply play one role in the beginning (the one they prefer the most) and only evaluate the situation from that view point. This can lead to biased decision making, less effective leadership, suffering productivity, and poor strategic planning, because they aren’t engaging in due diligence and self-monitoring.
Taking on multiple roles requires immense discipline and patience. There’s always one role which you hate doing the most, and it’s usually the one that’s the most important.
For me personally that means being my own assistant.
Self-awareness is necessary for any leader to effectively manage a team and run a business, and I’m aware that I function a lot better with structure. As the CEO, the hat I enjoy wearing the most, I don’t like scheduling my day. I hate being meticulous and am sometimes impatient with attention to detail.
But fortunately, the chief of staff loves doing this and empowering his CEO to perform better. Therefore, each night before going to bed, I embrace the role of my own chief of staff and outline my day.
As Alec’s Chief of Staff, I respect his time, and that means I need to help him be efficient. I’ll write out his calendar for the following day, and because I’m sensitive to how he likes to operate, I’ll schedule plenty of breaks and ensure there’s some creative ways to work throughout the day.
For example, I know that tomorrow he has lots of phone calls to make, so I schedule them all at once. And instead of having him do them locked in a cubicle, I’ll encourage him to go on a hike, so he can get some exercise and fresh air while working.
The idea here is to employ yourself. And the key to employing yourself effectively is to take your job seriously and hold yourself accountable. This ensures that you (as the Chief of Staff) do a good job and that the other you (as the CEO) is held accountable to your Chief of Staff. It requires a lot of discipline, but the rewards far outweigh the effort.
As a result of employing myself, I’ve had less stress, been more productive, and made better strategic decisions. I’ve become a better leader. I’m more patient. And best of all, I’ve had more fun.
Try wearing multiple hats in your business and employing yourself and let me know how it works for you.
What role is the hardest for you?
Did you find this useful?
Let me know your thoughts in a comment below.