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Eject From Your Desk
November 12, 2009
By Howard Mann

Ever notice How great things happen every time you peel yourself away from your desk and meet with clients, prospects or partners? But how often do you feel able to do it?

Like many business owners, my office has become a place to push paper and, more often than not, get in the way of people doing their jobs and delivering their best results. Unless you personally generate revenue or income from pushing paper (and lets hope you don???t generate any from getting in peoples way), consider for a moment that the bulk of your time is not best spent in the office. More as a goal than a rule, what if you spent half your time out of the office? If that sounds scary, unrealistic or disconnected, then it means it???s a good start.

The biggest excuse we have for being in the office so much is the old ???It won???t get done right if I am not here.??? Consider that this may be one of those false stories you tell yourself. If it is a true story, then you either need to hire better people or focus on empowering those you trust to do more.

Entrepreneurs are not wired to focus on the details of paperwork and day-to-day tasks, which is only appropriate. Entrepreneurs are big picture, idea people. Fortunately, there are plenty of people who are detail-oriented and derive tremendous satisfaction from that kind of work. If you take the time to learn about how each person in your organization is wired, finding the best role for each of them becomes a lot easier. When you put people into jobs they instinctively are great at and love doing, you unlock fresh reserves of power within your business.

(A great place to start is by having your employees take the Kolbe (A) natural abilities test.)

With your team now in their best places and your one-page scorecard/dashboard (Brick #9) tucked in your pocket, it is time to pull the parachute on that desk. Nobody spots opportunities or make decisions on the fly like a business owner (or a leader in any capacity) does. Nobody else has the edge of being the owner, president or leader at a meeting with a client, prospect or partner other than you. The best way to stay in touch with your business and its purpose is to talk to the customers and prospects in your market.

Working at your desk connects you every moment of every day to that ugly feeling of working in your business instead of working on it. Connecting with customers face-to-face is invaluable – it is what business owners do instinctively at the start until they get pulled to their desks by the gravity of growth and complexity. Want to keep the fire of that startup business alive? Fight desk gravity.

???I have a religious budget on my time,??? says Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft. Part of the religion is spending time with customers, about a third of his schedule. ???I get energy from seeing our customers,??? Mr. Ballmer explains. ???It reminds me of the things we???re doing well and it also reminds me of the things where we need to improve.???

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