Naked CEO series: Fighting fires and differing perspectives

by oneafrikan on May 3, 2007

Lately it seems that what I do is fight fires all day long. I can’t remember tha last time I sat down for a full day and cranked something out, much less a full week. No complaints at all, it keeps life interesting, but it is hard to manage. Good thing too that we’ve got a truly great team of people in the same space.

Primary problems are around the expectations of the inputs I have coming in, and then the corresponding outputs. Typically an email comes in, and the sender requires some sort of response and / or action. The challenge is that my priorities are often vastly different to the priorities of other people. Coders want to write great code, PM’s want to stay in budget, clients want stuff yesterday, I want to be able to pay salaries on time. Fundamentally, paying salaries is my primary drive every day, and it’s very hard to keep on track when you’ve got so many inputs to deal with.

So, I end up fighting fires to keep them from enveloping us all, and if I had to write myself a job description toay, it would be three things:

  1. fight fires
  2. keep everyone happy
  3. speak to people

And that’s it.

Sod php, css, svn, mysql, etc etc etc – going from project meeting to project meeting all day long means I inevitably end up answering emails and getting stuff done in the TV or radio induced noise of my living room at night, currently occupied by my cousin Dave (Hi Dave!) just off the boat from SA, and my brother Morgan. Tonight I got home from the gym, guzzled some chicken for protein and fruit juice, then settled down to clear about 50 emails from the day. This blog post is the last thing I’m gonna do before hitting the floor (still no bed yet – sleeping on futon mattress). So where’s the glamour? I don’t see no hot chicks waiting for me in skimpy neglige… ;-)

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The other thing that has become blindingly obvious the last 4 months, but an important component of the above, is that we’re all coming from different perspective, and even though we’re all part of the same business, and we’re all trying to do the same things, we often suffer from thinking that everyone has the same reference point or point of view when dealing with an issue.

The point is that I constantly have to remind myself that everyone thinks differently, and thus needs to be approached differently, but it’s bloody hard ‘cos a one size fits all approach works so much better. Clearly, that’s not the case though… I’m not sure what the answer is here, except to say that it’s a work in progress.

Any thoughts / observations / comments?

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