Wearing the right hat at the right time
On 02, Apr 2012 | No Comments | In Business | By alex
Today I’m thinking about head wear – not in the sense of royals sporting polo-mint inspired versions (is that nearly a year ago?!) – no I’m thinking about the metaphorical hat we wear when approaching a task.
During a recent project I found myself perplexed as to why I wasn’t feeling I was giving enough to the client; though I was certainly putting the hours in, I just couldn’t get rid of the uneasy, unfinished feeling I had each evening – very much like being back at school at that moment when the teacher asks you in front of the whole class a question you know you know the answer to but just can’t seem to recall. And then I got it … I’d forgotten to congratulate myself on my head wear.
When starting up your own business, regardless of type, you have to juggle many different roles – such as those Michael E Gerber tells us about in the E Myth*: entrepreneur, manager, technician etc. These roles all play their part in making the business tick, however after a while you simply can’t keep all the wheels turning yourself; you have to relinquish some responsibilities to others in order to a) give your brain any sort of break and b) have any hope of bringing fresh and effective ideas into your company. Failure to relinquish some of these roles, Gerber informs us, will ultimately result in the failure of the business.
Since starting Kinnear Creative I have reminded myself everyday about ‘what success looks like’ – a great tip I learned from a great coach (she knows who she is). If I don’t remind myself, I don’t feel like I’ve truly achieved. And this is what I had forgotten to apply to this project; success in this case was knowing which hat to wear and when. In order to deliver on time, to budget and with absolute quality I needed on some days to take the role of project manager; making sure the team knew what was expected of them and how they were going to get there, whilst on other days being part of that team and delivering the goods myself. The project was a success because yes I was carrying out each role successfully but most importantly I knew which hat to wear and when.
In every project, in every company, we have our roles to play. Knowing which hat to wear and when is a skill you need to practise and congratulate yourself for. And of course recognising the hats being worn by others is important too; quite often the quiet person in the room has a fab hat tucked up their sleeve just waiting to be whipped out (yes I’m mixing metaphors but I like it).
So Mrs Richards (my primary school teacher) when dumbstruck in class, I hadn’t ‘left my thinking cap under my pillow’**, I had simply decided to don a different one that day.
* Great classic business book – even better listened to on CD
** One of the kinder insults I regularly received from her
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