Most CEOs spend too much time on the details, like the subtleties of new beneﬁts package, instead of looking at the bigger questions of “Where are we now?” and “Where do we want to go?” They “stay in the noise.”
Instead, CEOs should be asking themselves what drives value in their company. They need to ask themselves if they are working on the business or in the business. I believe the first time I came across this concept was in the “E-Myth” by Michael Gerber and most recently in an article by Jay Ebben in Inc Magazine.
If leaders spend most of their time in the business, they are part of the problem. They should be asking themselves what they would be doing differently if there were a stock exchange for midmarket privately held companies. Most entrepreneurs are good at operating businesses-they’re good at what they do. They know they need to make money, to satisfy customers, and to keep their employees happy. But do they know whether there will be a future for their products and services? Are they targeting the right market segments? Can they repeat what they’ve done in the past but on a larger scale? Anyone with some ﬁnancial savvy will be primarily interested in the trailing twelve months. But the future is the sizzle. To build long term business value, it’s not enough to have your rear view mirror polished to a shine.
Are you working on the business or in the business?