Change Your Mind-Set and Start Working a 25-Hour Week

In the immortal words of Parkinson’s Law, are you guilty of expanding your work to fill the time available?

As an experienced executive coach, I’ve yet to find a business owner or leader not guilty of applying this law.

In spite of promising to take more time off work – and to work less at the end of a great summer with the family – I’ve witnessed time and again family businesses and business owners failing to keep their promises to achieve a work/life balance.

This doesn’t have to be an empty promise if you have the right mind set strategy. I can promise you that you can deliver amazing results by switching to a 25-hour working week.

In thirty plus years as a business strategist working with high performing family business owner and leaders, I’ve learnt that achieving a 25-hour working week is an 80% mind-set change and 20% action.

The three big mind-set changes are:

1. Change My Vocabulary

I’m breaking with the past, ditching the paternalistic clichés on how we all work together and we have:

◾ Colleagues not Staff

◾ Teams not Subordinates

◾ Technical Experts not Employees

I’ll stop watching over what people do in favour of establishing what I need to do to help them achieve outstanding results.

2. Don’t Call Me Boss

You don’t have to come to me for approval

◾You’re the expert. I hired and developed you because you know what has to be done when and how

◾I pay you to:

  • Manage your workload
  • Control the processes
  • Make the decisions
  • Manage the customers
  • Deliver the quality

3. I See the Numbers

This means you don’t have to keep me in the loop, bombard me with e-mails or send me endless updates. I get a daily Pulse Report and Numbers so I can see when things are going wrong and I know where to find you – and, I will.

4. What Are You Going To Do?

At our regular 1-2-1 meetings, instead of needing to know what you and your team are doing to regain lost ground and get the mediocre results back on track – something which you will do anyway – what I want to hear is your next great new idea to help propel the business forward.

The Mind-Set Formula Works!

On re-joining the family business and assuming control, one of our What If? Forum members, Ben, set his sights on the 25-hour working week and within a year had implemented the three steps.

He’s now enjoying attending sports days and prize givings for both his children, taking and watching his daughter at pony club events, being an active member of the Parent-Teacher Association and pursuing his passion for fly fishing.

He’s also treating his wife to surprise long weekends and meeting up with his and her folks when they are not off cruising or visiting friends in faraway places. On top of which – this year has been the best business year ever and his team have exceeded the best his father ever managed.

Ben’s big lesson: “Constraining your time encourages quality results!”

So What?

What you your tips for achieving a 25-hour working week, leave a comment below, e-mail, follow @richardwhatif on Twitter, connect with me on LinkedIn or post on

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