When I started The Unstuck Group back in 2009, it was just me. I created all the content that drives the marketing. I made all the sales calls. I made all the consulting visits. I did all the coaching. I took care of all the bookkeeping. I did everything.
Fast-forward seven years later, and The Unstuck Group looks very different. It’s not just me anymore. In fact, we just added one more person to the team this past week, and now there are 19 of us. As our mission grows and our team grows to support it, my role has to change.
As an example, I actually did the math a few weeks ago. After factoring in team commitments, vacations and other family commitments, I essentially have 40 openings for consulting and coaching engagements on my schedule every year. The great problem is that half of those openings have already been filled for 2016. In other words, I can’t do everything anymore. The mission has outgrown me.
More important, I’m starting to feel the need for change. Here’s what I noticed in the last several months. I don’t have time to lead the team into the future, because I’m so focused on what needs to get done today. I don’t prioritize doing the things I most enjoy anymore because they aren’t urgent. I don’t feel like I’m giving my best time and energy to my wife and kids. When I’m consistently looking forward to going on vacation, that’s when I know my work roles and pace aren’t sustainable.
Several months ago, I read this article about Jack Dorsey who is currently serving as CEO of both Twitter and Square. I don’t recommend his 100-hour workweek. I do like his strategy to designate certain days of the week for certain aspects of his role.
With that inspiration, I recently worked with Tiffany, who handles my schedule, to begin helping shift how I invest my time. My new flow going forward will look like this:
The day will be set aside for content creation. I’ll work with the team to brainstorm and plan new content. I’ll be studying, talking with people, drawing pictures, writing, etc. I have to make this a priority again. I think it’s important to the future of our success as a team. More important, this is where I find a lot of satisfaction and fulfillment.
These days will be focused on investing in other leaders and churches. This is when I’ll be on the road consulting, coaching or participating in speaking engagements. We’ve decided to draw the line in the sand. If Tuesdays or Wednesdays don’t work for the church or organization, someone else from the team will need to handle the engagement.
This day will be set aside for strategic conversations. Those conversations will include ministry/business development, engaging key relationships and coaching on pressing issues with the churches I’m serving. Tiffany will be ruthless about making sure these conversations are actually strategic in nature. Unfortunately, I’m to the point where if I talked with everyone who wanted to talk with me, I wouldn’t have any time left to do what God has equipped me to do.
Because most churches take Fridays off, they become great days for our team to connect. Mornings are set aside for meeting with the Unstuck team and working through strategic initiatives. Afternoons will be focused on operations functions that I still need to handle. I’m going to love Fridays because it’ll be my day to focus on leading our team into the future.
This is family and “Tony” time. For the last seven years or more, I’ve had a six-day workweek. Now that I’m in my late-40s, that pace is starting to catch up with me. I can’t continue like that and remain physically, emotionally and relationally healthy. For the first time in a long time, I’m looking forward to enjoying a two-day weekend. I wonder where I put those golf clubs…
As easy as this may sound, not everyone can do it. I can only find focus if my team is focused. There must be a foundation of agreement on our mission, vision and strategy for the future. Secondly, I have to hire high-capacity people. I’m not afraid to admit that I can’t do what others on my team can do.
Finally, I have to be willing to let go. And that’s a lot easier to do when I realize it’s not my mission, but it’s God’s mission.
Photo Credit: Brandon Redfern via Unsplash CC0