To Covey, the essence of effectiveness is centered around what he calls the P/PC balance. “P” is production and “PC” is production capability. It’s a simple principle that business owners often neglect. Covey explains how this principle is captured in Aesop’s fable of the goose and the golden egg. In the fable, greed and impatience drive the farmers attention from the goose, to the golden eggs and, alas, the farmer kills the goose hoping to get all the golden eggs out at once. In other words, he focused on production (the golden eggs), at the expense of production capacity (the goose). When business owners focus so intently on results (production) that they fail to take care of their assets that produce the results (production capacity), soon, capacity dwindles to the point that results suffer. For example, employees are burned out, equipment is poorly maintained, the financials and books neglected, marketing is shoddy and the result is lost customers and lost revenue.
One of the best ways I have ever found to maintain this P/PC balance is to schedule time for working ON one’s business – otherwise all our time is spent working IN the business. You know, head down, run, run, run ... pant, pant ... run some more.
For most business owners, time is not found, it is made. We have to carve time out. That’s sometimes one of the greatest benefits of having a scheduled class to attend or a set appointment with a coach or an adviser. So, here are three tips to help you with this most difficult hurdle of carving out the time you'll need:
First, you'll probably have to off-load something else. Identify something you can delegate or stop doing and replace it with a specific "work ON your business" activity - something to bolster PC.
Next, communicate your goals to those around you - whether in your business or not. Find a mentor or one of your peers who would be willing and able to advise you, or at least receive a report from you on your progress with working ON the business. Then schedule a regular time to visit with them, like lunch on the first Thursday of each month, or a set time for a phone call, etc. Then calendar it. Put it on your schedule and treat it as a high priority - for it truly is.
Tip number three: When you are sitting in your office reading an industry trade journal - let your people know that's what you are doing and how you expect it to better enable you to lead the organization in the right direction. Soon, they will begin to expect you to lead them by tending to those things that are working ON the business - not just IN the business. They will value it and that will help you continue.