Should You Promote or Fire Yourself?

In the popular business book “The E-Myth Revisited”, Michael Gerber says that every business owner is really three people: the Technician, the Manager, and the Entrepreneur. 

I often use the term “Expert” to define the scientists I work with who have deep technical knowledge, the quintessential Technicians – who founded the business to deliver value to customers that only they can deliver. 

Are you buried in the Technician role?

Maybe you are, but you’re the Expert - someone has to make sure the company delivers, right?

If you want to grow, eventually you have to hire people. This makes you a Manager, which means that you have to hire, train, supervise your team so they deliver what you promise.  It’s your job to make sure everything is under control.

And the customers always come first, so as the Expert you have to keep jumping back into the Technician role.

All good business ideas enjoy a growth phase, but eventually market shifts and competitive approaches reduce growth and profitability. Who should be responsible for the constant reinvention that a successful company must do?

You guessed it. You have to wear that hat too. That’s the role of the Entrepreneur.

Stay with me, and at the bottom I’ll share how to find out more.

If you’re like most Experts, you’re really good at being the Technician, you’re not as good at being the Manager, and you rarely have the time to be the Entrepreneur. 

But, here’s the thing…

You can hire Technicians and Managers. 

And, if you’re not planning to promote yourself from being the Technician, the sole source of your company’s value proposition, to Entrepreneur…

maybe you’re holding back your company’s growth. 

We all know what happens when a hired CEO doesn’t produce. What about a business owner? 

You are only accountable to the business and the goals you set when you started it. 

Are you happy, financially well off, with a balanced life and work you enjoy? If not, be responsible – promote yourself, or fire yourself.

How do you do this, practically?

Every day, every one of us has the option to fill up our brain capacity, and our calendar, with the task-oriented job of maintaining the status quo. As the saying goes, work expands to fill the available capacity. With the abundant distractions from emails and texts and online research we can easily succumb to the illusion that we are effective because we’re busy.

We can also fall victim to our technology, because all those devices and applications are designed specifically to convince us that we are more productive. 

Working with Experts, I often start with a parallel process of goal setting and task elimination. Some work here usually demonstrates that you don’t have the bandwidth to set a strategy to achieve a goal without giving something up. As Hal Praxis has said, “Strategy is what you say ‘No’ to”.

As Technician, Manager, owner, chief customer contact, overseer and final reviewer of all that goes out your door, and – oh, yeah – the one who has to manage the financials and the accountants and the insurance… 

How often do you say ‘No’? How often do you act like the Entrepreneur?

My last blog “Where is the Road Map” brought in some insightful comments from others who have traveled this path. 

“Sometimes though, the transition from expert to entrepreneur really requires support and motivation from the outside.. trustworthy and committed people in the form of Clients and Partners whose ideas and ideals resonate mutually.”

“…having outside business experts evaluate and give good counsel has played an important role in our success.”

I’d add my own experience an Expert who made the transition to Entrepreneur. I found it almost impossible to get un-buried and grow fast until I started working with outside advisers and hired an experienced head of operations.

Ready to promote yourself?

Here’s a short video where I’ve shared a few concrete things you can do to earn that promotion:


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