September 14, 2023
If I asked you, "What are you currently optimizing for?", would you be able to easily provide an answer?
Chances are that your answer is either too long (too many things) or you have no answer at all. If so, this post is for you.
This is a powerful yet simple question that has helped me zoom out, get clarity, and guide my decision-making. It's particularly helpful to those in leadership positions because it helps answer all of the smaller, tactical questions that often slow us down. We need to distinguish the trees from the forest, and knowing what you’re optimizing for, is your North Star.
Without having clarity on the answer to the question, we’re left trying to solve too many problems, and there is an endless number of problems to solve. This is the fastest way to get stuck and slow down progress. I know because I’ve been there (many times before, and very recently) — Trying to optimize for too many things, all at once, or not knowing at all. In other words, not optimizing for anything.
Your North Star: Knowing What You're Aiming For
In the rush to scale, achieve, and push the limits, many founders (including my past self) lose sight of what they're trying to achieve. Simply trying to “grow” is too difficult of a task to undertake. Too many variables are at play, and it’s not specific enough.
When you know what you're optimizing for, be it increasing MRR, acquiring new email subscribers, or launching a new product, it sharpens your focus. It makes it a lot easier to identify which problems to tackle and which ones to ignore, guiding every decision, every strategy, and every late-night brainstorming session.
Your North Star will change over time, and that’s okay. But you need to its current position. Answering the question, “What are you optimizing for?” is one of the simplest ways that I know to achieve this.
Oh, and you should always have an answer to the question.
For example, I currently co-own a local service business that I spend virtually 0 time on. Even so, it’s optimizing for something — That is, simple cash flow. Not growth, not learning new services, or extending its service area. Just simple predictable cash by leveraging its existing systems.
As for my consulting business (related to this newsletter), I’m optimizing for more clients. But more specifically, more sales calls (FYI — If you send anyone my way who becomes a client, I’ll send you $500 as part of my referral program).
The key is knowing what to say no to. Knowing what you’re optimizing for gives you the confidence and clarity to say no.
Vision, Projects, and Accountability: The Trinity
With your North Star clearly in sight, the journey becomes more manageable. You can start to make progress by creating the company operating system you’ll need to achieve success.
- Vision: Say you’re optimizing for more clients — Great, now define what success truly looks like and communicate it to the team.
- Projects: The way you get actionable is by identifying and clarifying the projects you’ll work on — That is, the smaller problems you’ll solve that will help solve your larger problem.
- Accountability: As you make progress and solve these smaller problems, you begin to lay down the foundation that will help you get to the next level. This is achieved by ensuring responsibility for upholding the new systems in your business.
Go ahead and try it:
- Answer the question: What are you optimizing for?
- Clarify what success looks like and communicate it to the team
- Review and update your projects so that they’re aligned with the vision
- Create accountability of newly implemented systems to maintain efficiency and predictability
See you all next Thursday 👋
PS. Whenever you're ready... Here are three ways I can help you systemize & automate operations:
- Learn how to find, hire and manage virtual assistants → Free Access
- Systemize company processes & automate accountability → Learn More
- Let me help you automate operations and exit the day-to-day grind → Work With Me
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