Spinning into the Ground

By Joe Diab, an EO Montreal Elumni and president of Diabsolut

It was a mildly rainy morning in 2010, and I was off to lead my spin class, something I’ve been doing as a volunteer for the past 15 years. My software implementation company, Diabsolut Inc., had been growing steadily since its inception in 2003. I was in full control of the ship, dictating every aspect of the business. Funny how a few minutes can change everything.

That day, in the middle of the grueling class, I fainted. I landed on the ground, and the journey began. People moved out of the way as the lifeguard materialized with a defibrillator. I was well taken care of until they could get me to a hospital. An angioplasty was done the next day to clear a clog in an artery, and I was back on my feet a day or two later.

But my life had changed. 

Changing the Way I Worked

Fast forward a couple of years: Diabsolut has tripled both its headcount and sales. What happened? Prior to my heart attack, I can honestly say that I ran my business by trying hard … but we were floating along. I never really imagined such substantial growth over such a short period of time.

I believe this growth happened because I began to stress less on the little things and focus on the “big picture.” Having faced this difficult health challenge, I realized my first priority had to be my family. I also stopped picking up every piece of work, and empowered others to get it done. If my leaders didn’t achieve the simple metrics, we made changes. Most importantly, I went from working 90% of my time in my business, to working 90% of my time on my business.

Working ON Your Business and Not IN Your Business

Living each day with purpose, I now focus on the affect I have within my organization. Now my impact is as a visionary and an effective leader. I speak to every person in my organization once a quarter, gathering suggestions and incorporating them into our future plans. Most of us who run a small business spend far too much time doing the little tasks, that they tend to miss HUGE opportunities for business growth.

You don’t need to have a heart attack to change your state of mind. You can start today. Change your focus away from “day-to-day” operational engagements to high-level strategic thinking. Simply change the amount of time you work “in” your business to the time spent working “on” your business.Here are some more tips to help you do just that:

  • Make a list of every task you do on a daily basis
  • Next to the task, put a name of an employee who could fulfill the duty. If no name comes up, add a note for a potential new hire.
  • Keep high-priority items in your view, and then entrust your people to get everything else done!
  • Prepare a one-page business plan on where you would like to be 12 months from now. Have everyone in the organization sign off on their dedication and willingness to reach that goal.
  • Be the “Chief Talent Acquisition Officer.” Let the pros find your new resources, but be the deciding voice on those resources.

The most important thing I have learned from this personal crisis is to let go and trust my team. My heart attack was the best thing that could’ve happened to Diabsolut. The company has a much more strategic thinker now, as well as more dedicated leadership from surrounding employees. We’ll chat again on our next double!

Categories: Business/Finance Tips Company Culture Inspirational

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