DIY is not a leadership strategy



A colleague recently told me about a client of his. This guy has built a $300 million business and spends 80% of his time traveling. A typical week looks like this:

  • Monday morning: Flight from London to Istanbul.

  • Monday afternoon: Rental car from Istanbul to a meeting two hours away, back to the hotel at midnight.

  • Tuesday morning: Flight from Istanbul to Stockholm, 8 hours of meetings, back to the airport for an overnight flight to New York.

  • Friday: After three days of meetings and late evening events, overnight flight back to the UK.

  • Sunday morning: After less than 24 hours at home, back to the airport for a flight to Lagos and the craziness begins again - and it never stops.

And the cherry on the cake? He only flies economy. With revenue of THREE HUNDRED MILLION. That's not good money management or setting a good example. It's just dumb.


The guy is 47 years old with a wife and three teenage kids. Needless to say, he doesn't see much of them. I'm not judging. I'm simply saying that this lifestyle is unsustainable in pretty much every respect. It's also unnecessary from a business perspective.


OK, so this is an extreme example. But many owners of small and midsized businesses will see a part of themselves reflected in this guy. Which is why I felt the need to tell the story, and provide a reminder that being a successful entrepreneur is never about doing everything yourself. In large part, it's about controlling your business and the use of your time, rather than them controlling you. Hiring people smarter and better than you and delegating important tasks and decisions to them is not optional, it's essential.


I hope this guy figures that out before it's too late.


Copyright, Hamish Mackenzie 2019

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