I often see company owners reacting to the needs of the day instead of focusing on the high-impact activities necessary for the company’s success. The important stuff gets pushed to the back burner until the owner finds the company in trouble. Then he or she gets focused in a hurry.

Gary Grabowski, owner of Greater Home Services, in Beverly Hills, Mich., has seen this pattern in action. This year, he’s trying something different to stay on track and be disciplined about how he spends his valuable time.

Grabowski identified five main areas of owner responsibility: leadership; ownership; sales and marketing; management; and the owner’s role in production. Three stand out in particular:

Leadership. Includes creating the company’s long-term vision and identifying core values that should be demonstrated every day. Clarifying the vision and communicating it to the team regularly helps encourage long-term thinking and helps employees feel that they are part of the larger picture. By defining core values and the behaviors that support them, everyone on the team understands what’s important to Grabowski and what he expects from them in their interactions with clients, vendors, trade contractors, and one another.

Sales and marketing. Grabowski has made himself accountable to the rest of his team for bringing in the business necessary to keep the company whole. As the sole salesperson, he can’t afford to let his attention slip in this area.

Owner’s role in production. Production is a part of the business that needs decisions made quickly so it’s easy to get pulled in, especially if the company owner was once a major player in the production department. Grabowski realized just how easy it is to get involved in production and get distracted from those areas in which he has accountability.

By creating, in essence, his own job description, Grabowski has a road map for how he must spend his time as well as a document that he can share with his team that helps them understand how his activities affect the company. With this document, he can help team members realize that they must carry their own weight so that he can focus on what must be done.

—Victoria Downing is president of Remodelers Advantage — helping hundreds of remodelers across North America build strong, profitable businesses. 301.490.5620. www.remodelersadvantage.com.