IN Your Business or ON it?
No matter the size of your team, small or large, one of the biggest battles we all encounter revolves around our time. There’s never enough of it, and we’re always pulled in conflicting directions. One of the biggest (and sometimes most frustrating) challenges we’ve encountered as we’ve grown OrangeBall is this… It’s tough balancing when to work IN the business and when to work ON the business.
Many of you know what we’re talking about and are probably nodding your heads right now. For those of you who have never wrestled with this concept, here it is. Working IN your business involves the hands-on, day-to-day, operations side of your organization. Here you’re making products and providing services directly to your customers. Working ON the business involves taking the time to plan for the future, sharpen your vision, innovate and create new products, dig deep into what your customers want next, and focus on growth.
You can’t do both of these things at the same time.
This is our struggle: How do we do both? Every time we want to work ON the business, the work we have to do IN the business pushes back against us. We’ve created a “clients come first” culture, and are very proud to have built that environment for our team and customers. There’s always a deadline right around the corner, and as we’ve grown, our time has become more pressed and more valuable.
But here’s a reality check. Some of the most valuable work we can do involves stepping out of our client work and focusing on OrangeBall. We need to do this to grow, evolve, and continue to meet changing client needs. And, we need to do this so that we continue to be a resource for the clients who trust us in the future. Working ON the business is the only way to ensure we’re adapting to change and creating a model for OrangeBall that will continue serving our customers for years to come.
For OrangeBall, our breakthrough moment came in one simple move, and it’s something each of you can do as well. It was as simple as scheduling the time on our calendar to work ON the business, and then being intentional to protect that time. The same as we schedule meetings with clients, we now have time scheduled with ourselves and our team.
What does that look like? If you walk in on a Monday morning, you’ll find us in our weekly team meeting. It rarely changes unless someone is traveling. We use this time to catch up, review our scorecards and goals, dig into the week’s issues and come up with our “ON the business” strategies for the week. Then, our Thursday afternoons are also blocked off in our calendars. We grab lunch as a team and spend our afternoon focused on the initiatives we have in place for our growth and evolution. Again, this time is sacred, and we rarely miss it.
These scheduled sessions are where some of our best collaboration occurs. They force us to slow down and reconnect as a team and allow us the time we need to set our goals and review our progress. They also provide us with the freedom to do the work we need to in order to make our own initiatives a reality and make OrangeBall better, not only for us, but for each of you as well.
The intentional scheduling component of this is vital. Without those protected moments set aside for work ON the business, we would endlessly slide back and work IN the business. You’re likely in the same boat. In the short-term, that would be fine. But in the long-term, it would slow down our progress and impede any momentum we’re trying to create.
We want your businesses and organizations to grow! This coming week, find an hour to set aside for work ON your business. Put it on your calendar, and protect that time. Stop what you’re doing long enough to meet with yourself or your team, and focus on where you’re going, not just where you’re at right now.