Working on or in the business causes confusion, management trainer believes


One of my favourite all time reads is M. Gerber’s “The E Myth” (1995). In it, Gerber makes the distinction between “working in” a business (meaning hands on, operational doing) and “working on” a business (meaning viewing the whole business, taking a strategic, big picture view of things). Gerber’s book is targeted at small business owners and the pitfalls they face if they spend all their time working in their business and not enough time working on their business. Even though his message is for business owners, I believe it applies equally well to managers in organisations. Given the demands of most roles, how often do managers take time out from their daily doing, to check their progress against the strategic goals and plans? To check that all the necessary systems and processes are developed, linked, functioning and contribute to the whole business? To see if their efforts and those of their staff are actually contributing what is intended? A good habit for all of us to get into is to regularly ask ourselves “where am I working – on or in the business? Where should I be working? And how frequently do I need to schedule time, to do both? Gerber’s “E Myth Mastery” (2005) is also a good read, as is his website:

Leave a Reply