“Let fires burn. One of the ways that blitzscaling entrepreneurs can stay alive is by deciding to let certain fires burn so they can focus on the fires that, if allowed to rage unchecked, really will destroy the company.” – Reid Hoffman, Rule #5 of the Counterintuitive Rules of Blitzscaling
Many of us spent at least a day of our childhood wanting to be a firefighter when we grew up. Ironically, now that we’ve grown up to become marketing leaders, many of us find ourselves fighting new fires every day.
But the most successful leaders in and outside of marketing have a keen understanding of the differences between big fires and small fires. The old adage that there aren’t enough hours in the day is true. This forces leaders to prioritize their respective fires. If you don’t, you’re unlikely to successfully extinguish any of them.
Marketing leaders essentially have three options for every fire they encounter: fight it themselves, delegate it downstream or to an agency partner, or the hardest option to take of all: let it burn. We all need to ask ourselves just how critical a particular fire is. If it’s allowed to continue to burn, will it wreck your team, brand, or the entire company? If not, what other fires is it pulling you and your resources away from?
This January in our annual kick-off meeting I challenged our team with this concept. Marketing leaders are stretched thinner than ever, and working from home blurs the lines between “on” and “off” more than ever. This concept of being willing to let small fires burn in favor of fighting the big fires that actually matter can make or break a leader’s impact on the growth of their company. At Fidelitas, it’s our job as Strategic Partners to help guide our clients accordingly.
Prioritization and delegation are critical to your bottom line – and your sanity. Perhaps they merit more consideration if your productivity and results are going up in smoke.