Not all chaos is bad, and here’s how to harness it.
6 min read
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Entrepreneurs often stress when they hear the word chaos. If that’s you, I’ve got something to tell you: All chaos is not created equal.
A business in bad chaos — the type you fear — looks time wasted, energy spent in the wrong areas, and people not utilizing their talents fully. When your company experiences this chaos, it doesn’t just hurt your head. It hurts your wallet too.
But chaos isn’t always bad. If your company’s making more and more money, that chaos is under control. In the middle of this chaos, you can get things done efficiently and move your company’s mission forward.
Here’s how to keep on keeping on in the midst of chaos.
Get control of yourself
If you see nothing but chaos around you, that’s because of your own internal chaos. When you’re overwhelmed and anxious, you project that onto the world at large. I’ve seen it play out in my personal life. When I’m stressed about a new project at work, suddenly everything my wife does causes me stress.
My wife isn’t doing anything wrong. I am.
When I realize what I’m doing, I man up and apologize. You’ve got to do the same with your business. Take time to clear your head. Then you can determine if what you see as chaos in your business is destructive chaos or if it’s just in your head.
Let go of the reins
“From day one, I’ve had to micromanage every part of this company. Why? Because I know the company better than anyone and the people I hired aren’t that bright.”
If you’ve ever thought this–or especially if you’re thinking it right now, you need a swift kick in the pants.
The people you hired are good at what they do, and every time you tell your engineer how to design a product or hint that the marketing specialist is incompetent, you’re creating chaos. And that kind of chaos is never good. It brings companies to their knees.
Remember, you hired great people with great skills to work for you. And if you somehow hired a bunch a crop dusters, you need to either coach them up or coach them out and replace them. Either way, when you have a solid team, get out of their way and let them do it. Stop micromanaging and get to your office for some big-picture thinking.
I guarantee if you do this, your team will start strutting through the office with a new pep in their step. They’ll start solving problems that were once considered impossible. All because you stopped bringing control-induced chaos into their work lives.
Create an environment you can control
It’s not your job to control other people, and trying to will drive you crazy. This is good news, because chaos is a byproduct of being human, and even the best people carry a certain amount of chaos with them. Since you can’t control others, control your environment.
I do this every day, and it starts the moment I wake up. Emails don’t get to me when I don’t want to see them. Phone calls don’t come through when I’m doing heavy mental lifting. Notifications never pop up on my phone.
Because I need to control how I use my time.
It doesn’t stop with technology. I spend a lot of time by myself thinking. Decisions about logistics, marketing, and hiring have to be made. But not by me. Especially in the morning hours.
That’s because my team knows I’m not available until 10 am when I come into the office. They respect this, because I’m doing hard brain work that’s going to make our company, their jobs, and our bottom line better. And that starts at 6:00 am.
When everyone’s making more money, everybody’s happy.
Focus on the essentials
Speaking of happy, think back on when you started your company. You were a ball of excited energy, a constant smile on your face.
As time passed, you came up with dozens of killer ideas, and you implemented every one of them. Now, the mission of your company that was once crystal clear is so broad you can’t recognize it.
Regain some sanity by determining which aspects of your company need attention (hint: it’s the areas that make the most money), and work on them first. Once you handle these and ensure the financial strength of your company, you’ll be better poised to take care of the chaos.
I know I’ve said it a million times, but the purpose of your business is to make an obscene amount of money so you can contribute to the causes you care about. Anything that doesn’t aid in that goal is true chaos. Killing it off will boost your business like nothing else.
See chaos as a growth tool
Ever been in a company with a rule for everything — where employees know what to wear, say, think, and do every moment of the day? Those places work like well-oiled machines. But I’ve yet to see the cogs inside a well-oiled machine have a meaningful impact on the business it works within.
If you your business is experiencing a chaotic moment, relax. Money is attracted to optimism, problem-solving, and taking action. Chaos is the truest test of these qualities.
Encourage your people to use chaos to grow their critical thinking skills by problem-solving for you. Set them free to find ways to get out of the chaos, overcome the chaos, turn the chaos into something that can benefit them now and moving forward.
By seeing crazy times as potential for crazy growth, you’ll position yourself to build the empire you dreamed of when you started this entrepreneurial life.
So stop fearing chaos in your business. Take care of your own internal chaos, then take a good look at your company. If it’s making more money today than it was yesterday, that’s chaos you can live with.