See the Weeds Without Getting Lost in Them: Finding Your Balance as a Business Leader

March 22, 2021Insights

Many business owners acting as CEOs fall into one of two categories.

First, there are the owners who keep it high level, often pursuing ideas and making decisions without considering how they may impact their business operations.

On the other side, some owners are so entrenched in the day-to-day that they find themselves in a constant state of analysis paralysis. They’re too far into the weeds to see their way out.

Meanwhile, elite leaders keep a happy medium of knowing the important details without being consumed by them. Here are a few tips to achieve that balance and, likely in turn, your goals for your business.


Set the Budget

An annual budget establishes clear benchmarks at every level of the organization. With a budget in place, you can see the big picture and the small steps simultaneously, enabling you to make sharp decisions in stride based on the budget vs. business performance. If it takes more than a few minutes to recognize whether you’re on track to meet a goal, you’re venturing too far into the forest. Take a step back and simplify the metrics that you track as the leader.


Lean into Accountability

The point of setting a budget is for your team to manage it. Put the right people around you whom you can trust to uphold the budget and responsibilities, both individually and collectively as a leadership and management team. When you have the right people in the right positions, you should expect that they will make the right decisions for the business. Let them do their jobs and report to you as appropriate. If your employees are leaving you out of meetings and/or processes, it’s likely because they know you need to be doing other things to run the business. 


Stay Focused

The feeling of having a capable and cohesive leadership team is pure bliss for a business owner. Instead of living in the trenches, you can spend time coming up with the innovative ideas that make you a successful entrepreneur. Allow your mind to work its magic, but don’t let it run too wild. Your employees are working toward short-term and long-term goals that you have communicated to them to move the business forward. If you are frequently chasing the next shiny object, pause before presenting it to your team and ask yourself if you are flying too high. You want to be building on your team’s efforts; not steering them astray from progress made.


Participate with Purpose

Your team is first and foremost looking to you to lead, but they also want to feel like you’re one of them. Recognize their accomplishments, celebrate the wins, and make company culture a priority. Successful leaders are champions of employee engagement, corporate wellness, togetherness, and team building. They are relatable, yet respectable; personable, yet professional. Know and be there for the birthdays, but don’t necessarily be the one baking the cake.

It’s applaudable if you want to be deeply involved in your business, and understandable if you prefer to roam freely from it. The balancing act is to be present where your company needs you and removed where it does not.


By Andrea Steinbrenner, Chief Operations Officer, Exit Consulting Group