Stop Doing Everything and Get More Done

There’s a secret to success that doesn’t get a lot of discussion around entrepreneurs. Doing less. Check out your favorite online guru, thought leader, or growth expert and you’ll likely hear a lot about the importance of ‘hustle’, effort, or hard work. And not without good reason – it takes a lot of work to build a business.

But… that same devotion to long hours will also be your undoing if you really want to scale your business. Seriously, the harder you work at building your business, the more likely you are to hit a wall at some point that you can’t overcome (at least without changing your approach).

Why? Because there are only 24 hours in a day and you are only 1 person. You physically can’t be in 2 places at once and despite your strongly held belief, trying to do multiple things at once (multi-tasking) isn’t making you more productive. As your business grows, more and more things need to get done every day in order to sustain that growth. At some point you will NOT be able to do all of the important things by yourself.

Start Thinking ‘Who’ not ‘How’

According to the internet, Bill Gates once said;

“I choose a lazy person to do a hard job. Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.”

– Bill Gates

This is a really interesting quote for a couple of reasons. For starters, it’s a great spin on laziness – maybe extra effort isn’t always the best way to go?

The second reason this is interesting is that Gates is clearly thinking ‘Who not How’ because he’s choosing someone else to do the hard job (rather than figure it out himself).

If you’re familiar with the idea of ‘Who not How’ it’s probably because of the famous entrepreneurial coach Dan Sullivan who literally wrote the book on the concept: Who Not How. As you might guess, it’s not a complicated idea, but it can be difficult to consistently put into practice.

If you’re an entrepreneur (or any business executive for that matter), faced with new challenge or problem, it’s likely that your first instinct will be to start thinking about how to solve that problem. You got to where you are because you’re smart and capable and you’ve solved a lot of problems along the way. But even if you can solve the current problem – what you should be thinking instead is who can I find to solve this problem instead of me.

Remember, you only have 24 hours in the day. The more you can offload to other people, the more that can ultimately get done. When you effectively delegate the challenge to someone else, you free up almost all of the time it takes to do that work.

Delegating doesn’t happen in a vacuum

At this point, you might be thinking, this delegation thing is a great idea, but it doesn’t apply to me – I don’t have anyone I can give these hard problems to.

Fair point – especially if you work by yourself or with a small team.

But the bigger idea still holds. If you want to scale your business, or even just get more done, you’re going to have to build a team and you’re going to have to get comfortable with letting go. For starters, there may be some things you’re doing today that you could outsource. Almost every business owner should, at some point, hire someone (or outsource) to do their payroll, bookkeeping, billing and collections.

And as your business continues to grow and you hire new team members, you need to start handing things off. But as part of that hand off, you need to make sure that you’re actually Delegating and not just Deciding. That link has a lot more detail, but the essence is that Deciding means that you just have someone doing tasks but you are still responsible for outcomes and troubleshooting. Delegating means that you are empowering someone else to achieve the outcomes that you want and allowing them the leeway to do that in whatever way works for them.

If you want to scale your business and get more done, you have to stop doing everything.

What can you do now?

Transitioning from doing most of the important work to truly delegating it to others isn’t an easy thing to do. If you already have a strong team around you, then you can start by finding 1 or 2 things that you spend a lot of time on and giving that responsibility to one of your best employees.

But you can’t just throw the work over the wall and hope it all works out. Instead you need to be really clear on what you expect for outcomes, including dates and metrics for success. And you have to let them solve the problem in a way that works for them (which might be different than how you would have solved it). As long as the outcome meets the expectations, then you have to be okay with how they approached it.

And if you don’t have a strong team around you? Then your top priority is to hire someone to be your next ‘Who’. Find something that you spend a lot of time on, that could be done by someone else, and hire towards that challenge.

What do you think? Are you currently trying to do too much? Are you comfortable handing important things off to other people? Or is this something that’s holding you back? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Shawn Kinkade Kansas City Business Coach

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