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You started your business because you’re the best at what you do. Even if you have a team, you’re probably still the best at most tasks in that business.

But if you spend time doing things that don’t directly grow your business, you’re wasting time. Worse, you’re setting up your business to fail.

You have to determine the highest and best use of your time.

In this episode, we discuss how to figure out the tasks you’re best suited for and how to train a killer team to take care of the rest, so your business can dominate your market.

Show highlights include:

  • How finding your HABU makes you and your team run like a well-oiled machine (1:28)
  • How the “Delegate & Elevate” chart helps you rekindle your love for work (5:06)
  • The secret to spending all your time following your passions (and still getting all the work done) (6:23)
  • A shockingly simple way to get your employees to treat your business like it’s their own (8:35)
  • Why doing less leads you to accomplish more in your business (11:40)

To get the most out of this podcast, head over to buildernuggets.com and join our active community of like-minded builders and remodelers.

Read Full Transcript

“Frankly, I was able to get out of the way I was able to get out of my own damn way and move the needle.”

Welcome to another episode of Builder Nuggets, the show where builders and remodelers discover how to build thriving businesses while working less. I'm Duane Johns and together with Dave Young, we share the elements of success that have helped hundreds of contractors like you build better lives. [00:21.3]

Duane: I'm excited for today's topic because it's one of the elements of success that when implemented properly will drag you out of the weeds. We're talking about finding your Highest and Best Use. Dave and I call it Haboo.

Dave: Haboo. It sounds like something you would get at a high end Japanese steakhouse.

Duane: Yeah. And most of the time when I ask a builder or remodeler or what his highest and best use is I get the long blank stare. And I know exactly why they're frantically trying to decide between what they have to do versus what they want to do.

Dave: Yeah. And what you should not be doing. You know, the most fulfilled people in the most successful businesses are the ones that are constantly focused on doing things that they like are good at and move the needle the most, instead of just doing things the same way, because that's the way it's always been. We're going to challenge you to define what kind of business you would be able to create and what kind of experience for your team you would be able to provide, if you strategically mapped out a plan where everyone was working with maximum passion, commitment, and productivity on things they were good at. So
Duane, we think of this as an org chart with a purpose, but more than that really it's, it's a mindset. [01:32.5]

Duane: There's no doubt, it's a mindset I've gone through it myself. It's very freeing once you go through that process. And Dave, I think back to the exercise you worked on with a builder named Kevin Collins, and it ended up in some really interesting results. Walk us through what the process was and what they learned from it.

Dave: Yeah. Well, it's not entirely new process. There are different sort of business systems that incorporate it, but we actually saw it applied in, it's kind of a raw experimental format when Kevin and one of his team members, Catherine, we're taking a look at all the stuff they had to do in their business. Their business was growing. They had put a bunch of systems and structure in place. They were on the path and they mapped out everything that needed to be done. They just took it and barfed it out onto a sheet of paper. They started to separate it. And the exercise they went through was, Hey, do I like to do this? Am I good at it? Is this the best use of my time? Am I the only one who could do it? [02:33.7]

If it wasn't the appropriate answer, they didn't put their name next to the task. And they challenged each other going through that. And at the end, they had a really comprehensive list of here's the stuff that I should do. Here's the stuff that you should do. If we do that, we'll both be working on stuff that we like and moves the needle. What's left over? And then there's an exercise for going through that. But anyway, the short story around this is Kevin brought that to a mastermind meeting that we were at, a training session and shared it with some of the others. And everyone said, wow, that makes complete sense. How do I get myself away from doing the things that I'm either not good at? I'm doing it just because I've convinced myself that I'm the only one who can do it. All that junk that we have in our heads, because we get so ingrained in doing things the same way, it forced us to challenge and what we've done together Duane and I is taking that spark, that concept and just developed it a little bit further, so it can be used and scaled with every single team. [03:41.6]

Duane: I remember when we were doing that, there was a builder, somebody yelled out from the audience, it says, so you, so you want me to go through an exercise to find out how I can spend my time doing the things I'm supposed to do. I don't have time for that.

Dave: Exactly. I don't have time to go.

Duane: I don’t have time.

Dave: Just the things that I'm supposed to do. And it got a great laugh. I mean, it's funny.

Duane: It's probably the number one reflex answer we get for almost any challenge we have. I don't have time for that.

Dave: Yeah. I don't have time to do all that. And, but who cannot make the time to map out a success path where you are strategically assessing the tasks that you do, how you spend your time and asking yourself, am I the right person to be doing? If you need to, you can or if it helps you cause sometimes we work in terms of costs. You know, if you're a business owner and your time is $250, $500,$1,000 an hour value, whatever you assess your time at, if you're doing things that are $20 an hour tasks, you really need to ask yourself, how do I get away from those? So Duane touch on the overall concept a little bit. [04:50.2]

Duane: Yeah. The concept is not earth shattering trouble we knew and for anybody that's familiar with EOS, the Entrepreneur Operating System, which comes from the book traction. There's an exercise in there called Delegate and Elevate that outline just as well. And ultimately all the things that you do in any given day will basically fall into one of these four categories. If you look at some of these things, a lot of times you'll see a little chart, might have four boxes on it and kind of goes from top left to bottom right. But in the first one, it's, it’s you love it and you're great at doing it. For some that could be meeting clients out there, networking, engaging, closing deals. You've got a passion for that, you love it and you're great at doing it. Then there's things that you like to do and you're pretty good at doing it. Again I think of things like maybe managing job sites, managing trades. You like the interaction, you're pretty good at it, probably not where you should be spending a ton of your time. [05:41.8]

And then there's things that you don't like doing, but you are good at it. And I think of a great example there is applying for permits. Nobody really likes to do that. The most builders probably have gotten good at it through the years. And then there's the worst one is things that you don't like and things that you're not good at. And for me, I just put social media; I don't want to be there. And ideally you want to spend the vast majority of your time in that first category. Think about that for a moment. If you could be spending all your time, following your passions, doing things that you love and you're great at doing, and then find some people, people that will do everything else. [06:17.8]

Dave: Yeah. And in doing that, everything else, the first sort of moment of enlightenment is when somebody goes through this exercise on their own or goes through it, writing their own name down on the list and they're realizing, Hey, if I focused on this, what would my life look like? How fulfilled would I be with my career? Take that to the next level. You're a business owner. You're going through this with one of your team members. You are investing the time in them, in their highest and best use to look at, Hey, what are you passionate about? What are you really strong at? Where can you have the most impact in our company? Where can you see your performance really drive the needle? And that is powerful for people. We talk about attraction and the magnet and getting likeminded people on your bus, doing exercises like this builds the kind of polarity that pulls the right people to you. What you end up with is a bunch of committed people who attract other committed people. [07:20.5]

People will want to work on your team. People will hear the stories. Trades will say, Hey, those people are happy. They're committed. They're awesome. They are lights out, doing a great job. People will tell their friends to go, Hey, you got to come and see this company, what we're building here. If you use this as part of your principle for building a magnet for talent, whether it's the best trades, the best project managers working with unbelievably gifted designers and architects, even suppliers who provide amazing customer service, you start doing this stuff and putting people in positions to succeed. Other people would want to be part of your mission. And that's how you build a more valuable business, because you're going to count on those people to do their piece, to do it really, really well and you don't have to babysit it anymore. You don't have to touch it anymore. You don't have to get sucked back in, or you don't have to get pulled back into it. Every business should function around the skills and the passions of their people. If you just give people a job, they will just have a job. But if you give them a purpose and a mission, they will go on your mission with a purpose. [08:34.4]

Duane: And we talk about the four core functions of any business, a lot business development, accounting, operations, marketing. What makes this exercise exciting and where it really starts to pay off is you don't just do it yourself, you do this with your team. And by you finding where your highest and best use is, you can ultimately then spend your time there. Think about how good the team becomes when the people in accounting, the people that are running your accounting or people that are passionate about it, they love it. They're great at it. Same thing goes for operations, same thing goes for marketing. Once you can look at that, you've just created a phenomenal team. [09:11.9]

Dave: Yeah, absolutely people doing what they love and what they, what they should be doing. But it's probably; imagine people are wondering like, what the heck does this exercise look like? We're going to post access to it on our website; we will be hosting a builder nuggets live events, and some lucky victim or volunteer, whatever you want to call them. We'll walk through this in the future. This is something we've done and seen incredible transformations and rewiring of people who come to the realization they've been doing the wrong stuff. How many companies have we done this with? [09:48.5]

Duane: There's gotta be close to a hundred.

Dave: It works. And it's worth taking the time. You can probably do this and depending on the size of your team, a couple hours of digging into this and mapping it out and through a live event, or if you're speaking with us, we can share some of the tips and Duane, maybe we'll post some of those to make it easier to run your own version of it. But this is really an exciting and fun thing to do. [10:17.4]

A quick reminder that the best way to get the most out of this podcast is to engage with the Builder Nuggets community, visit our website at BuilderNuggets.com and follow along on Facebook and Instagram. [10:31.0]

Dave: You know, it's not surprising to us now, but early on, we were surprised when we would be going through with a business developer who put everything that was in the sales relationship outreach vertical into their bucket. They came to the realization and one instance in particular that they actually didn't like to maintain the ongoing relationships. They wanted to go out and hear about the projects and make the initial, do the initial assessment and bring them into the company. And then the relationship was fostered with the operations team and the project managers. And that's where the connection with the client was really fortified yet it was the guy in the business development role who was constantly being asked to reach back out and to maintain a relationship that was actually stronger with other members of his team. So it didn't really make sense, but it's small discoveries like this, where, Hey, if I stop doing this and start doing that, I'm really going to have an impact. [11:38.3]

Duane: Yeah, there's no doubt about it. And as you said, we've gone through this exercise with many, many builders and remodelers, a lot of eye opening results when we do it every time, frankly, when we do it, and I've seen the results myself, I went through it in pretty good detail, about five years ago. And it was very transformative for myself and my business. And one of the things that I found was I was actually a cog in the wheel for my business. I mean, I was spending a ton of time doing things that I, frankly I didn't love and I wasn't good at. And it was really having a negative effect on the business and the team. After I'd gone through the exercise and realized my highest invest use, where I wanted and should be spending my time, frankly, I was able to get out of the way I was able to get out of my own damn way and move the needle. [12:20.2]

Dave: Yeah. I mentioned that, you know, we have some extra tips, we'll give you a few now. We've set this up as spreadsheet and when you go through it the first time, I mean, you can do a run through. That's pretty difficult. Well, it's not that difficult to do, but it's difficult to really nail it. We always recommend going through this with someone who knows you, your skillsets and your current role really well. When you’re going through this and you've got a task there and you're putting either your name next to it and the first time you go through it's, you're only putting stuff on your name, you want to be doing this with someone who is either your business coach or your business partner, somebody who knows you very well and can help to challenge you on some of those to say, you know what? I actually don't think you're that good at that? Or I think I'm better than you at that. And or this person would be the right one to do it. Or we have six people in the organization who can do it. So that's really, really key is to after your first pass through, get another set of eyes from somebody who knows you really well. [13:21.4]

The next piece of advice would be to disregard who the role belongs to right now, forget about tradition, forget about what your job title says or what you drew up as your role with your business partner. Just look at it with a very clear perspective and an open mind to say, Hey, is this something that I love? Is this something that I'm good at? Or is this something only I can do? And if you're not sure what you can just do is put your name next to it, highlight it in green if you love it, yellow, if you're indifferent and could do it, if you had to in red, if you absolutely hate it and that'll help you to identify stuff that you just need to clear out when you're not sure and go back when you have that other set of eyes. It's important to try and disregard the costs of either outsourcing it or assigning it to somebody else from going through this. Leave cost out of it, if you can, you can revisit that down the road because. [14:20.4]

Duane: There's the underlying costs that you don't even think of. If you've got somebody that's in a role and they feel like they're eating worms and hanging wallpaper, they're costing you money.

Dave: Well, they're not going to be very happy. They're not going to attract other talent. And they're probably going to go someplace else where the worms are tastier and the wallpaper is less sticky. But this, I mean, the whole purpose of this thing is to empower people. We've seen whole mindsets shift. We've seen people say, I can't afford to bring somebody in to do that. And when you look at the cost of you doing it, you can't afford to keep doing it.

Duane: Almost every time, that's the result. It's not really a matter of you can't afford. You can't afford not to. [15:05.0]

Dave: Hmm...Hmm. And it's pretty liberating to say, this is what I need to do. This is what I need to put into my business next. You've got this sheet, that's got you and your team and your business partner, that's all mapped out. And then there's the holes. And this is when you get down to the nitty gritty. And you're like, who wants to do that? And nobody's really got their hand raised. You look at, okay, well, who can do it? We're going to put it in there. You're not going to love every single thing, that's the other thing. Don't expect that you're absolutely going to love every single morsel of your path here. There are going to be things that you still either tolerate or do because only you can do it. Just to remind you, you got to challenge on that all the time. You will have holes. Those holes need to be assigned. And oftentimes if it's something that you can outsource, like if you don't have a project management systems, trainer expert on your team, outsource that. There are amazing software systems out there that come with trainers that can help get buy in across the board, on your team. You probably need an internal champion, but put somebody else in charge of that, if that's not your thing. [16:16.3]

Duane: Yeah. And what you have to keep in mind is that for every hour, for every half a day, that you find a solution for that, you can get back that's another hour or four hours a day that you can spend doing the things you love.

Dave: Yeah. Move the needle. And again, we talk a lot about building more valuable business, more rewarding business that runs better with less of your time. This is exactly what we're talking about. This is how you build a valuable business by everybody being laser focused on stuff that they love. Think of an investor, what they're going to think of if they come into a business and you're the one, doing everything that business is going to be nearly worthless. But if you will look at a business and you see committed team members who have a dedicated path, all the things that they do gets completely mapped out and they are all loving it. And if any, one of those people left, the business would still function because you would attract, you've probably got somebody waiting in the wings to take over that role and become part of the team. That's when you've created real value, not just for your employees, but as a legacy company. [17:24.6]

Duane: Yeah. This is a future pacing play, there's no doubt about it. This is an element of success, finding your highest and best use, but there's other elements that are going to be a part of this. And one of the ones that I think of, and there's going to be an episode coming up that is going to be very powerful and it's called ‘The Power of No.’ Going through this exercise that's one of the challenges that that's going to come up is there's going to be some things that you are going to have to say no to.

Dave: It's your business, weight loss program. It is absolute business, personal training to go through this exercise and shed the unwanted bits. And not just because they're, you know horrible things to do.

Duane: It's the kale salad.

Dave: Yeah. But then find somebody who loves kale salad. There are plenty of people who love that and thrive on that. So bringing them in, and they're the ones dealing with the kale and loving it. So what will this actually do for you? [18:21.8]

It was about a year and a half ago that Kevin went through that exercise. He wanted to streamline what he was doing so that he could put motivated people, committed people, focus people in place to take some of this off his plate, so that he could grow into additional markets. And he's done just that. He's about to open his fourth office. His team is a powerhouse team that has running operations. He's got world-class leadership on the accounting side, marketing side. He literally got all the things off his plate that he didn't need to focus on. And now what he focuses on is meeting with other builders who may be at the stage of retirement or winding down or exiting their business because he's interested in taking them over and partnering with them for a structured buyout. He's interested in opening an additional offices with staff members who see the path to ownership and want to be a part of where Kevins going. [19:25.7]

He created the structure to accomplish this goal. And it's been pretty amazing to see. So we encourage you to, you may not have the goal of buying additional offices, taking over offices or moving into other markets yet, but these are some of the things that the people we work with are able to accomplish when they implement these elements into their program. You will hear more about Kevin later on as we'll have him as guests on probably a number of our, our shows because his story is so intriguing, where he came from the discoveries that he's made to things that he's put in place and what is able to do now with his business and what his team is able to do, and the amount of value that's created there. And this is what we're hoping for all of our builder nuggets community. [20:11.3]

Duane: So, as Dave said before, this can seem daunting, a lot of work to get started, and we're going to be able to help you really quickly by holding a builder nuggets live event, going through this exercise in real time, it is going to be fun. And the easiest way to get on board with that, if you're interested is just visit the website to get some information there, or you can simply send an email to gold@buildernuggets.com. And we're going to select someone to be our case study for that live event.

Dave: Yeah and if you follow us on Instagram, we'll keep you posted on the different events that we're doing so that you don't miss out on something that you really would love to be a part of. [20:43.0]

Do you have what it takes to transform your business? It's time to take action. Join the Builder Nuggets community to experience the life changing breakthroughs that the most successful builders and remodelers have already discovered.

Subscribe to the podcast now and follow along on Facebook and Instagram. Got elements of success to share with other builders, let us know at BuilderNuggets.com so we can amplify your story. [21:08.7]

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