I was in a planning session with an Insight CXO member and friend, Jonathan Ross, two years ago, and we were talking about organizational development and getting the mindset right around key roles in his business.
One of my favorite things about Jonathan is his ability to create great analogies. He said to be most effective in your business, you have to Be a Surgeon.
This is an especially important concept for entrepreneurs to get their heads around when thinking about in their own roles inside the business, especially if they are founders or co-founders of their firm.
Be a Surgeon means imagining yourself as a Brain Surgeon, and it’s surgery day. Think about the end-to-end process and all that happens in the Operating Room:
- The O.R. is prepped with the right tools and implements.
- The patient is wheeled in and is prepped by nurses.
- The anesthesiologist administers the drugs and intubates the patient.
- The surgeon washes her hands, and nurses put on her gloves and prep her for the surgery.
- The surgeon performs the surgery (successfully!) and exits the room.
- Staff cleans up the room and prepares for the next patient.
If you are an Entrepreneur and have an active role in the business, you must Be a Surgeon! Leverage your staff to handle the things that do not fit within your Unique Ability, or the things that are not High Impact and give you Energy. Create systems and processes and roles to handle the rest. This will also give you more time to work ON the business and not IN it, creating more opportunities for you to grow your business.
This concept can be applied across your staff, and especially among your leadership team. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and to run a business most effectively, you need to leverage each individual’s strengths and help them avoid their weaknesses. Just as you wouldn’t want a nurse doing your brain surgery (or vice versa, really), you don’t want your A-player CFO running warehouse logistics (or your A-player logistics guru handling the financials).
In a less-extreme example, maybe your marketing head is a creative genius, but isn’t so great at providing documentation to accounting; maybe there’s someone on her staff who can keep track of all those details so nothing slips through the cracks. Being a Surgeon means the whole team is playing to their strengths — and avoiding things that increase the risk of inefficiency, errors and dissatisfaction.
If you’re serious about growing your business, Be A Surgeon — and make sure everyone on your team is positioned to do the same.