Are you Herding Cats?

By Edward Plant

As business owners, when something needs to be done there’s a temptation to just roll up our sleeves and do it.

If you want something done right, you need to do it yourself. Right?


Very wrong.

In the Army we used to call this “Performance Punishment”, which is – do well and you get given more to do.  In business this is translates to perform well and you set the standard too high for anyone else to achieve it so you keep doing it.

Trust me I learned this lesson the hard way and I’ve seen it put a cap on many businesses scalability (and hence income).

You need to understand that business is a team sport. And like any team sport you need different skills within the team. Here are the three roles you need to make your business to succeed.

The first is the Leader. They’re the ideas person or visionary. They’ll see a problem or gap in the market and think, “hey I can solve that problem for a profit”. “I can bring value to the market”, and so they do.

Most importantly here though, is that they initiate the ideas and then are able to get others to execute them. Leaders need to maintain accountability and make sure the projects/ideas drive forward.

Leaders aren’t afraid to take risks. They drive the vision and the ideas. They inspire people, they create products and love creating the future.

They’re absolutely critical.

This is likely who you are and it’s certainly who I am. So it’s likely you have the Leader role in your business well covered.  The challenge becomes you may have it to well covered as your partner is probably a leader of your business as well.  To be honest for your best results you both need to be leaders in the business.

One of the biggest challenges you will have is working out how to lead together, when to lead on your own and how to translate this without confusing your teams and customers.

The next role you need is the Specialist. They take the entrepreneur’s vision and help make it a reality. They could be a plumber, an electrician, a web developer or a accountant or for that matter anyone else with a unique skill. They essentially take your idea and help make it a reality. Sometimes the entrepreneur and the specialist can be the same person.  Growing beyond you being the only specialist in your business is key to achieving your growth results.

The last role you need to create a successful business is the Manager. They make sure that work gets delivered and that the vision is on track. They ensure that staff are doing what they should be doing and that customers are being taken care of.

This is the stuff that Leaders typically hate and get bored with quickly (and hence don’t do) … and then the wheels start to fall off.

Do you enjoy creating and following checklists, handling HR, dealing with support issues, balancing the books, sending out invoices and quotes?

I didn’t think so…

But guess what, manager types love this kind of work.

If you don’t have this role in your business it’s going to put a very firm lid on your scalability.

Conversely, a good operations manager will change your life.

Your manager allows you to become the rock star who shows up on stage to do the show. You get all the applause and then leave the crowd cheering.

However, it’s your manager who is there with the whole crew before the show setting up and after the show packing everything up.

Managers are a crucial element in your people strategy.

If you want rapid business growth I’d recommend auditing your business and ensuring all these three roles are well covered – the leader, the specialist and the manager.

In the words of the late, great Jim Rohn, “getting the right people in your business to work together is a lot like herding cats. But when you get them to all work together, it’s magic!”.

I couldn’t agree more.

There’s a classic Youtube video about herding cats that I love, I’ll put it below so you can have a laugh:


Dedicated to the success of couples in business world wide,

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About the Author

Edward is the Co-Founder and Lead Strategist at the Institute for Couples in Business. When he’s not nutting out smart strategies you’ll find him hanging out with wife and business partner Rebecca and his sons Samuel, 4, and Charles, 2. For the past seven years Ed has been working with business owners to double profits, halve hours and build self-sustaining business that thrives with or without you. Ed is also author of #1 best-seller Lead-The-Ship and a sought-after guest speaker who often gets mistaken for Prince Harry.