How Do You Balance Your Time Between Execution and Managing People

More of a running a business question, but how much of your time do you spend executing vs. being in meetings, conferences etc?

(I’m used to being an executor and now my job seems to be meeting with people and managing)

Great question.

It depends how big your company is. Once you’ve got 7 or so direct reports, management basically becomes your full-time job. Depending on your management style, that can mean a lot of meetings.

I spend most of my time being in meetings and stuff, but I still end up doing a lot of operational stuff in between. I’m still executing, but it requires me to be really clear about which meetings I’m not taking (any with people I don’t know, or where the meeting doesn’t directly contribute to our 2–3 strategic goals right now) and also it sometimes gets pushed into the evenings or the weekend.

Certainly as someone who used to be all execution, the change can feel really frustrating. It’s like going from 90% execution and 10% overhead to 90% overhead and 10% execution. But the secret is making the management stuff feel like execution. Because it is. It just doesn’t feel that way most of the time.

Resources to check out:

Founder Friday Series

This post is part of a series of short, candid, quick videos and essays on entrepreneurship and starting your own businsess– I call it Founder Friday.

If you want to see more of these, leave a comment and let me know that you like it.

The Hard Thing About Hard Feedback

When you’re a founder, you take a lot of feedback on different things. It doesn’t quite get annoying, that’s not the right word for it. So what is it like?

Sometimes it’s helpful because you see something new (rarely).

Sometimes it’s just another new data point.

Sometimes it’s frustrating because you know it’s something you should be doing but you’re not (often).

Talking to people is an essential part of your job. You can’t run away from them.

You’re talking to investors, employees, directors, customers, and everyone else. What are you going to do when people tell you your idea sucks?

How do you deal with that?

You don’t. You thank them for their feedback and you move on.

The hard part is knowing what to conclude from people’s feedback.

Some things to consider:

  • Listen
  • Assume people want to help you. The fact that they’re giving you advice means that they care about your success. So don’t take is an as attack.
  • Be aware of how it’s making you react. Are you getting upset? Are you getting frustrated? Are you getting excited? Those are all okay. But it’s worth being aware so that you don’t let those emotions blind you and make you do something or respond in a way that you shouldn’t.
  • One data point is not enough. You have to do additional research and talk to more people.