“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit” – Aristotle
As Online Business Managers it can be really easily to get stuck in a trap of what I like to call: Adrenaline Addiction. This is where we run from one fire, to the next fire, to the next fire. You know what I am talking about, it’s that ping of fear that creeps in on you before you open the inbox each morning, or when you see a certain client is Skyping you in the middle of the day. All alarms go off and before you know it you are on a full fire drill…
Producing at the level of an OBM and trying to be a firefighter do not go hand in hand. As a matter of fact, many times the fire extinguishing tasks will cause us to by-pass the OBM tasks all together. Now to ensure that when I say “OBM tasks” we have the same expectation, I’m talking about the tasks that support these 4 pillars of business management:
- Project Management
- Operations Management
- Team Management
- Metrics Management
These are the tasks I am referring to as being the OBM tasks… anything that pertains to planning, proactivity, team leadership, metrics analysis.
Now with that in mind ask yourself this question:
On a scale of 1 – 10, how proactive are you in your business and in serving your clients’ businesses?
If you answered “7 or above,” good for you… there might be a bit of improvement you need to focus on but most likely you see what that is and you are already looking to make those changes.
If you answered “4 – 7,” then my guess is you are in the ‘rut’ – that space where you know what needs to be done and find yourself giving great spurts of effort towards the OBM side of things on a regular basis, but you haven’t quite figured out what habits you need to have in place to stay ahead of the curve.
If you answered “0-3,” let me just say… I am so sorry, as I know your work environment is likely absolutely exhausting. This is the place where burnout breeds! It is miserable, overwhelming and often feels like you are completely stuck, with no way out.
The good news is that, no matter how you answered, I have 3 simple habits you can implement in your business right now that will at least move you 2 levels on the proactivity scale.
Habit #1 – To Do or Not To Do – get in the habit of asking yourself this question about EVERYTHING you are doing.
“Is this a TO DO for you?”
- If someone else can do it, delegate…
- If it doesn’t need to be done right now, plan for it…
Once you decide it is a TO DO for you, and not for someone else, then you need to prioritize it among all the other tasks. However, most the time it is something someone else on the team could be doing. You are still doing it likely because you haven’t figured out how or made the decision to delegate the ‘TO DO’ tasks in front of you.
If it’s not an OBM task… and you ARE an Online Business Manager… then I really encourage you to build the habit of asking yourself if this task is a ‘TO DO for you.’
Habit #2 – Perform, Process, Pass
If you are trying to be the VA and the OBM and plan everything, and do everything… there is a good chance you will never move past a 3 or a 4 on the proactivity scale. Not because you are not great at what you do… I am sure you are… but simply because you can’t possibly do it all!
This is where team comes in… when working with a VA (specifically if they are new or you don’t have any processes set up), I encourage you to follow the 3 Ps of Delegation:
- Perform the task – as you are doing a task ask yourself: do I ever want to do this task again? If the answer is no, then move on to the next step.
- Process the task – simply write out the steps you are doing as you are performing the task.
- Pass the task off to a team member – with the process you have created.
BAMM! You don’t have to do that task any more. 😉
This should be a habit you put in place around every task you are doing that does not fall in the category of the OBM role. Even if no one is there to pass it over to right now, at least when the business grows and there is someone to pass the task off to, you will be ready. Or you may hire your own VA ‘to do’ the tasks.. and that’s okay too. 😉
Habit #3 – Inspect, Don’t Expect
So many of the OBMs I talk to will say to me:
“I tried to work with a team, but they just didn’t get it done the same way I would, or they didn’t do it right, and the client got mad.”
To that I say, why didn’t you inspect it before the client ever saw it? You had an expectation someone would do something the exact same way you do… but you can’t simply expect it, you must inspect it.
Until a team member proves themselves trustworthy, inspect everything before you send it to the client or let it go live. After a while you will learn to trust that team member and they will learn what you desire.
The key here is to not do it for them, if it isn’t the way you want it, instruct them on what you want and have them redo it 😉
The good news is you can always add new GOOD Habits to your work experience, and you can always take away BAD ones! The choice is simply up to you.
So how do you choose today?