So you are a business owner, manager or someone in a position with some extend of control or authority. You are too busy to get all your work done, do the important tasks that need your attention and you aren’t making progress in your position.

Chances are that you are raking leaves. “Raking leaves” is a figurative description that explains a certain state in which someone is either trying to do everything by themselves or they are trying to do small, unimportant tasks and wasting their time on that while the rest is neglected.

The Raking Leaves Story

A friend of mine told me a story, here it is:

My friend owned a maintenance/construction business and they provided a quote to someone to do renovations and other work on their house or building.

So my friend previously employed a manager to oversee projects and manage certain practical aspects of the business. The manager was instructed by my friend to do this renovation project for the client and so the project was started.

Some time later my friend went to the building of the project to see how things are going and noticed that the manager was raking leaves. He walked up to the manager and asked the manager: “What are you doing?”. “I’m raking leaves” the manager said. My friend told the manager that he shouldn’t be raking leaves because he is in a management position and he should be delegating the work to the workers under him and rather focus on more important tasks of influence.

This happened roughly five years ago. My friend has since sold off his part of the business to the manager who is now the owner. The manager – now owner of the business – has grown very little in five years because to this day he made the decision to keep raking leaves and not focus on management. Whether he has grown much or not I don’t know specifically but the moral of the story remains.

Moral of the Story

The best investment you can make in your business is staff, influence, expansion and more.

You have the choice today whether you want to rake leaves or whether you want to focus on more important things and have people do the smaller, more unimportant tasks for you. The unimportant tasks are not unimportant to the business, they are just unimportant to you – in your capacity – because you should be spending your time and effort on growth as well as quality of product or service. You have to manage, not rake leaves.

It is up to you, the choice is yours. Don’t be scared of expansion, just do it!