Sunday, January 20, 2008

Time or Money?

Ask a business owner which is more valuable, and they'll invariably tell you time. But back in undergrad for most computer science folks it was probably the opposite… long nights fiddling with Samba, rebuilding your NT4 PDC, or fighting with your Java apps – there was plenty of time to hack away at problems... just because. But how many of us invest the time in learning new stuff now that we’ve got business’s to run, or teams to manage? I mean doing more than just keeping our heads above water in this rapidly changing IT service provider industry, and actually investing in learning something completely new… especially something where the ROI isn’t obvious?

For SBSers, maybe that’s learning a bit about 2008 core, or maybe it’s Linux, or scripting, or even C#. The point is, if your head is above water, and your business is growing, your model is working for you – so it’s time to start managing you’re most valuable asset – your time. You should be looking for opportunities to delegate more and more of the revenue generating aspects of your business to the people working for you, so that you can invest time in new areas. How? Look around – you probably have really great people working for you. Don’t believe me? Try rewarding them. I know that’ s a bit counter to what you’ll find scattered about “leadership” training programs – who for some reason – seem to think people want to feel good more than they want rewards. Forget that for a minute, and find someone who’s willing to make sacrifices – and then just start rewarding them. Bonus them out, reward them for making your life easier, and push them to fail. Think failure is a bad thing? I’d much rather have employees who will do anything for me, and sometimes fail – than a group of people scared to act because they're scared of what might happen when they do fail.

The bottom line... Time is your most valuable asset. Look for opportunities to delegate the day-to-day aspects of running your business so that you can go off and learn something new. Reward your best people, encourage risk, and move on to bigger and better things.

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