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Author: The BCW

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Stop Doing Other People’s Jobs!

Many CEOs and business leaders do other people’s jobs. Either because they want to help, because they don’t trust their teams to do it exactly when/how they want it done, because it is faster, because it makes them feel accomplished and good about themselves, or because they don’t have the right people on their team. Regardless of the reason, this has a number of negative consequences:

  • You become your company’s #1 growth roadblock – because you don’t have enough time left to do your actual job: lead and grow your business.
  • You rob your team members of development opportunities – which can eventually lead to the best of them leaving your team (which A-player wants to be in a place where they can’t develop themselves?).
  • You work too many hours, with too much stress.

To make matters worse you have created a vicious circle: once you have accustomed your team to you doing their job, they expect you to keep doing it over and over – you have created passive team members. You want to be helpful, and in fact you are unintentionally hurtful. It is just like teaching a child to tie their shoes. Obviously, their shoes will be better/faster tied if you do it for them every day – but if you do so you will be tying their shoes on their wedding day.

Changing your team members’ behaviors often requires changing perspective: a leader’s job is not to accomplish great things with the support of their team. It is the other way around: a leader’s job is to support their team, so that the team can accomplish great things.

What can you do about this?

One way to change is to push decisions down – every time you have to make a decision, ask yourself whether you need to make this call, or whether someone else on your team could do it as well. Amazon defined the concept of one-way and two-way doors. Two-way doors are decisions that can be reversed with little time and effort – e.g. defining a new pricing scheme, launching a new service,… Most decisions are two-way door decisions. These decisions can be delegated: it is OK to fail because you know that you can undo these decisions with limited cost.

One-way doors (ie irreversible decisions) on the other hand should be made methodically, very carefully, and should not be delegated – but these are only a small minority of the decisions you make every day.

Practically Speaking: What can you start doing today?

Here is how to apply this today:

  • Make a list of the 10 to 20 top decisions that you make regularly.
  • Identify which ones are one-way doors vs. two-way doors.
  • Identify to whom you can delegate some of the two-way door decisions and select a specific time to brief them.

The benefit is amazingly fast: as soon as these decisions are not in your hands anymore, you will create time for yourself – so that you can focus more energy to grow your business faster.

Do you want regular insights on how to grow your business faster and with less pain? Sign up for our Growth Breakthrough Newsletter:

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