Skip to content

Get the Hell Out of the Hourglass! – Part 1

Posted by Amy Lynch on January 5, 2023

The hourglass was the iPhone 14 Pro of the eighth century! It did things no one had ever seen before. Today, no one uses an hourglass, except when they play a board game like Boggle or Perquackey. Still, you’ve seen them – two glass bulbs connected in the middle by a narrow neck, a pinch point. One bulb is filled with sand that will measure out one minute as it passes through the choke point into the other bulb; only one grain of sand can make it through at a time.

When I talk about the hourglass, I’m talking about being stuck in the neck of the hourglass with your harassed and distressed face pressed against the glass. That means a jammed-up life of making decisions about each and every piece of sand as it passes through the bottleneck.

You cannot build a strong business that endures if you are wedged in the middle of your business’s hourglass! 

I used to be stuck there, slowing things down, slowing the company down. Everyone needed to come to me for decisions because I was the only one who could make them. I didn’t like it, but it was my life – wedged in the neck, every minute of every day.

When I think about my business, the grains of sand equal all the inquiries, questions, and problems that occur every day. I had to process every one! I needed to examine each piece of sand and approve it before it could pass through the hourglass. It was a place of weakness.

You can’t build organizational muscle jammed in the choke point.

The company needed to build muscle and grow strong, and I needed to climb out of the choke point.

Today, I get everybody on board with the outcomes we are looking for at Nolan Painting, so that they can make decisions also. That means expanding the neck of the hourglass, making it wider, so that more sand can flow through more quickly and easily every day. This requires muscle.

At Nolan Consulting, my brother Brian and I do a podcast called Out of the Hourglass. It is about how a business owner can get out of their own way. We teach people how to grow their organizations and stay in control without getting lodged in a bottleneck. The goal is to identify the most productive and best uses of their time while establishing behaviors that provide freedom from daily operations. Doing this frees up time to spend on strategy development, personal enjoyment, and quality time with family.

If a leader wants to grow the business, sell it, pass it on to the next generation, or just have a better life… it’s time to get out of the hourglass.

Build muscle.

Categories: Articles