I recently reread an excellent book written in 1995 and was struck by the timelessness of its subject matter. And, with the holidays approaching I thought it would serve as a terrific gift for someone you know who leads an organization: any size, any type, nonprofit, for profit…whatever.  This book might also be a great gift to give yourself. The book is entitled The E-Myth Revisited written by Michael E. Gerber.

Mr Gerber makes many good points and two really struck me. First, (paraphrasing here) …the problem is not that founders,  leaders and entrepreneurs don’t work, but that the’re doing the wrong work. And secondly, leaders should stop working in their organizations and start working on their organizations. 

To the first point, the author cites examples of leaders who fail to recognize their business skill weaknesses and then compound that problem by not hiring people with those skills to accommodate that shortcoming. No one can possibly know everything about running business. For the good of the organization, it is important to both acknowledge and address this gap.

On the second point, Mr Gerber explains how leaders and organizations would be better off by periodically pulling back from their day to day responsibilities and viewing the organization  as a whole, as a separate entity.  As an example, take a look at your organization as if you had an opportunity to buy it from someone else. Would you buy it? What would have to happen to make it a desirable organization?  Doing this cold, dispassionate evaluation yourself from time to time can help keep you keep your organization on track, efficient, and relevant to its chosen constituents.

The problem is we leaders get so wrapped up in our organizations’ day to day busyness that we lose overall sight of what is happening. These two points, and others he makes, can help you keep your firm on track delivering real value. This book is full of thought provokers-