The Hands-Off CEO Blog

10 Critical Mindset shifts to make to maximize ROI with your Operations team, and scale service profits



You’ll just waste your money on capable skilled staff member if you aren’t willing to let go. Decide how hands-off you are willing to be in each part of your business before you hire or promote this person.


Sell Sell Sell – that’s your job. Or optimize your sales team if you have one. Your job is to drive business. I don’t care how big your company is, you are IN that part of your business until you have set up systems and people to run it without you.


The right person matters, but you won’t get the right person until you are ready for them. Who do you need to be? What do you need to personally need to let go of? Listen carefully for what emotions come up when you envision the exact type of person you want. Do you feel undeserving, or frustration that it won’t work? Or you think “ONLY I can do it. No one cares like me.” If that stuff is coming up, you need to work through it before this person comes into your business.


It’s more empowerment. You set the WHAT and WHY, their job is the HOW. Don’t get them confused and do your job but let them do theirs. At first, show them your way but let them execute their way. It might just be much better.


A 20 year experienced manager with all sorts of bad habits isn’t anywhere near the trust and ability of a younger candidate who is coachable and eager to learn. I like a coachable person with some wisdom proven and ability, who I can develop how I want. No bad habits to try to undo.


Your company needs to be ready for higher support. The level of management support you are ready for is partly determined by the level of sophistication in your proven offer and ability to sell it. You don’t want to bring on a high level operations person on the shifting sands of being unclear who exactly you serve, what problem you solve for them, and exactly how you deliver it.

You declare the direction you can get your team to execute on. YOU need to be clear on WHAT and how the business makes sales and profit. A superstar operations person will NOT work for your company if there is lack of clarity here. They have to many other good offers.


This is obvious, but years ago I lost a great project manager who I could have developed a lot further. She helped me get my crap together and we even got a “successful” fb ads campaign funnel up. It feed us leads, I was going in a frenzy to keep up with them all. I was selling people into my program, but after a few months, it looked like we just had a break even with the ad spend and looking at how much of my time it took.

I was burned out and worn down. It was working, but not really ‘working’. This is what happens as a service provider when you are not profitable or sustainable enough. Profit caught up in the long term as client lifetime value, and referrals picked up long term. But the problem was I wasn’t charging enough because I wasn’t offering a big enough promise or an outcome.

It was a sucky stage in my business and I lost a good leader in my company. What you need first is a profitable and sustainable business ready for a superstar operations person to help you scale growth. (If you need help with that, let’s chat.)


Many think if they hire an Operations person and pay them a lot it will be like having consultant and doer in one. What a bargain!

They are going to come into your broken business and whip it all into shape. Yeah, my experience from seeing countless CEO’s take this approach is that’s NOT how it works. You need to first do an assessment of the breakdowns, prioritize them and put an action in place. Now a good Operations person can do this with you. But not FOR you.

They just don’t otherwise have the context to really “get it”. Further, when you are looking for this level of change, you need to create that vision and give the person support to execute. Feedback and help with ways if could be done. Discussing together all the implications of each option. If you haven’t been able to solve it in years, what makes you think they can turn this around in weeks on their own, with little of your support?


Get that out of your head now. This is a leadership move. You inspiring, empowering and directing your team to expand, but YOU must first expand. You must set that bar and be willing to let some people go who are unwilling to rise to it. You have to generate that leadership first. You can’t just hire it without first being it.

Don’t think that less time means that you don’t have to give as much. You actually have to be more. More will be required of you as a leader as far as showing the way and modelling change. But the amount of hands-on time dramatically reduces. And that creates growth, AND freedom.


Assess breakdowns, prioritize, analyze, create a plan. Work together with your new superstar to create this. This at the same time gives them context so they know enough to make good decisions. They need to know what’s working and what is not. What I use is my Scalability Assessment, that we walk our clients through in our Intensive. We compile a list of what’s working and what’s not. Then you prioritize and make a change action plan in small chunks. You give ownership of a small project that you work TOGETHER on to understand.

Identify together the real problem, sort out the twisted spaghetti of all the interdependencies. Notice that emotions and resistance around the issue may come up for you. Which is part of why they could be problems festering for too long.

You won’t truly be able to solve the problem until you let go of any emotional charge around it. Acknowledge and clear that with what I call the “reset button” then you’ll have the space and clarity to really create the lasting change. Change happens externally only AFTER it happens internally in the leader.

Honestly, all that above is pretty difficult to handle on your own. I am an expert in this, and I had a mentor support me through it. It’s a big transition in your business.

But once you have that clone of yourself in your business, your growth will be UNSTOPPABLE.

Want my help becoming unstoppable? Help assessing your business, what you need in the next roles you hire, and gaps to fill to become more effective and profitable. Aside from mountain biking and ceramics, my greatest hobby is squeezing more profit out of a business that is already doing great work in the world. And empowering the owner to do a lot more of it, in less time.

If you might like my help squeezing more profit out of your business, hit me an email and tell me what you are looking to create in the next 12 month.


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Mandi Ellefson

Mandi Ellefson

Mandi Ellefson helps service businesses with the tricky task of becoming scalable. Her passion is helping freedom seeking entrepreneurs scale the better way– for success in their business and in the rest of their life. Out of a decade+ experience and testing as a business manager, and then building and selling a design business, Mandi has created a system that is responsible for generating tens of thousands of dollars of new revenue for businesses she's worked with.

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