How to identify what actually matters to your business
Find your Queen Bee Resource.
Do you know what the essential activity of your business is? Does your team?
Focus is essential to execution and building your business. It is easy to split your attention in a million different directions, but achieving your wealth, freedom, and impact goals requires focus – this is as much about what you don’t do as well as what you do.
So let’s dig into what you do.
Introducing the Queen Bee Resource
The inventor of this exercise, as far as I know, is Mike Michalowicz. I have been using it with teams, executives, and business owners for a year or so, and it always leads to great insights.
The name comes from the activity of a beehive.
Tens of thousands of bees make up a beehive. They all perform different tasks. They nurse the young, build the hive and search for pollen. However, the hive has just one purpose: to protect the queen.
The queen is the unique resource in the hive, and ensuring that she can do her job is essential to the hive’s survival.
So everything every bee does contributes to the objective of keeping her alive and laying eggs.
Interestingly though, the Queen Bee does not control the hive. The worker bees control the queen. They care for her and protect her, but sometimes they also kill her. So the hive isn’t mindlessly completing a task – it has a purpose, it knows the purpose, and all of the bees contribute.
The Queen Bee of your business
Applying this analogy to your business, the Queen Bee Resource, as explained by Michalowicz, is the one thing that your business cannot function without. It is the core. It is the piece without which your business would cease to exist.
Everything else you do is there to serve and protect that Queen Bee Resource.
Gathering pollen is essential to the bees because it allows them to keep the queen alive. Likewise, marketing is vital to your business because it will enable you to keep your Queen Bee Resource alive.
This is important for focus and alignment. However, it is also essential to understand how you deliver on your value proposition forms a crucial part of your strategy.
How to identify your Queen Bee Resource
Step one: gather your team together. If you are a solopreneur, you are your team. If you run a company, this is your leadership team. If you are a part of an organization, this is, well, your team. Enough said.
Step two: grab sticky notes and give 6 to each (unless their handwriting is terrible, in which case give them 12).
Step three: have each individual write the six essential things they do as a part of your team. Sometimes people struggle to get to six, and it isn’t the end of the world if they only end up with four or five, but try to find six. Often if you can’t get to six, you are too high level and maybe need to get more granular. If you have 20, you are probably too granular and should group these into six big groups.
Step four: discuss everybody’s top six and get some consensus agreement that these are relevant, important, and, well, true.
Step five: Now is when the fun starts. Tell everybody that they must remove two of the six. They must imagine that these activities can never be done again. They can’t delegate, outsource or hire someone else to do them – these activities are gone. Killing essential functions will cause some consternation, but stick with it.
Step Six: Review the four activities that are left and think about how to expand the four to achieve the same outcomes as all six. This does not mean that you add the two that you removed back in with a different name; those are gone. So how can you expand the four to achieve the same outcomes?
This is usually insightful because it helps you identify ways of working that you hadn’t thought of before. If you can’t Vlog and Blog, maybe you blog more.
Discuss as a team what each person removed and how they would change the other four to achieve the results.
Step Seven: Remove two more activities one at a time do two more rounds of removing one activity. It is easiest to do these one at a time; the mind hurts too much when you kill two at a time.
Step Eight: Define your QBR now, you are left with two activities. These are the most important two things that you do. Pick the most important one, the one activity that without which your job, the business, or the team would not exist.
This is hard but doable. There will be a lot of handwringing and doubt, but keep plugging through – force the prioritization.
Step Nine: Share Now that everyone has narrowed down their activities to the top activity, discuss as a group. Go over the top two and the one that everybody chose. Let the group generate some feedback. Does everybody agree? Is there overlap? Are these the right things to focus on?
This discussion is generally very useful and revealing. Often each team member has identified a relevant and complementary activity, and when you piece them together, they make up the critical functions necessary for the team.
The activity that each person has chosen is their “Queen Bee Resource,” the one activity that they must protect at all costs.
Protect the individual Queen Bee Resource
Each individual now knows what their most important focus area is. They should keep this with them at all time. Stick it to their screen, store it in their wallet, refer to it often.
Realistically everybody will do more than that one fundamental activity, but they should cut out the noise and ensure that everything they do is in some way in service to the Queen Bee Resource.
Marketing, for example, for marketing’s sake, is not helpful. Just gathering likes will not move your business forward and is unlikely to strengthen your Queen Bee Resource. But marketing that supports and builds the Queen Bee Resource IS valuable and necessary.
So the goal isn’t necessarily to eliminate the other five activities but rather to focus them on supporting the essential activities.
We have also found that the discussion around how to expand the four activities to accomplish the first two that you removed can be very helpful. Sometimes you can eliminate those first two – as painful as it first seemed, and bring more focus to your team.
Your team’s Queen Bee Resource
The next part of the exercise is to identify the team’s QBR. Once everyone has identified their QBR, create a new list of these individual QBR’s and start whittling that done to your team’s QBR.
Follow the same process of elimination – start with the first two, then take one or two away at a time until you get to the last two, then pick the one that is indispensable and has the highest priority.
The QBR is the reason your business, or your team, exists. Everything else you do matters, but only in service to this Queen Bee Resource.
Use this tool to identify your critical activities and eliminate noise. It is easy to become distracted by everything around you. Determining what is most important to your business can help you identify and eliminate the stuff that isn’t.