Where Do You Spend Your Time Managing The Business?

In today’s Coffee…

  • Doing things the HARMs way

  • 473 words, reading time about 2-1/2 minutes

We have talked with hundreds of CI owner-operators and the challenges Managers face are similar firm to firm. The best of them are very proactive about getting things done. Others, not so much. But all face daily decisions about prioritizing ideas and initiatives.

This observation has inspired what we call the HARM matrix. It is intended to classify management inclinations into four quadrants: HOLD, ACT, REACT & MAINTAIN. Let’s review each and see if you agree.


There is a plethora of ideas out there and sorting through them can be distracting. You might exit every conference you have attended with a new idea. You get excited about it: Oh, I should do something about a service plan; I should think more about RMR; I should add certain product categories outside my current offerings; I should redo my showroom. The list goes on. In the HOLD mode, no action is taken. They get parked, sometimes to never be brought up again, but frequently to reappear and take up more of your time, only to be parked again.


Here is where the impact is made. These are actions you take to change something, improve something, advance something. ACT has risk, yes – and this is what drives us to HOLD mode. But ACT is the only mode with big rewards; you are addressing something head on.

Actions taken are not always the right ones, of course. But you can learn from your mistakes and make corrections.


A lack of systems and processes can lead to the business getting in front of you, instead of the other way around. Now you’re running, trying to catch up with the chaos of an unmanaged daily grind. You run faster, work harder. We have seen this consume the energy and sanity of many a business owner.

Sh** happens, of course. You’ll never stay in front of everything. But you can’t outrun chaos. You need to stop, reexamine priorities, and focus on the most important ones.


Maintenance activities are important, and can take a lot of time and attention. Sales tax, accounting, insurance bidding, re-enrollment, daily admin and collections… All necessary but not achievements.

Achievements change the course of company performance. They come from managed ACTION.

You might examine where you are on the HARM matrix today. Talking without action – that’s HOLD. MAINTAIN should be largely done by accountable employees, not Management. REACT will always be there, but it can’t consume each day. We might suggest the following as a healthy mix for how Management spends its time….

While these numbers are not scientifically determined, the notion of spending more time on solid actions is unrefutably the most effective Management style. We hope this will help you focus on better choices for your business and allow you to achieve better results in shorter periods of time.

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