How many different sayings are there about talent and the right people. From Jim Collins telling us to have the right people on the bus, to Jack telling us to cull the bottom 10%, to the late great Steve Jobs telling us to hire smart people and let them tell us what to do – the list is endless as it pertains to maximizing the talent around us. However (my opinion) – business leaders struggle with one thing that will always prevent this from truly happening. Trust. Not “trust” like they are a trustworthy person – but the trust I am talking about is entrusting the person to do a job that they will not do as good as you. (hint – they will probably do it better). Face it. We are not super heroes. No one can be great at all things. As business leaders we must be wiling to let go of the vine (thanks Gino) – and entrust the right hires to do the right things otherwise we will never grow. Or you don’t – and you continue to be “busy” – but I bet that this “busy” does not include focusing on things you should be focusing on. Here is a trick that I use, and it helps. Not fool proof or perfect – but it helps my type A persona cope and adept with the fact that team trumps individual.
I call it the 80% rule.
As an entrepreneur I have done most things in my businesses. Many I should not be doing – but it’s a nature of start-up. Back to that list of “famous wisdom” – the quicker you work yourself out of most jobs – the better. However, again – entrusting in someone else is extremely hard to do. Enter micromanagement and bad culture if you don’t. So here is how my 80% rule works. For any given job function or task or requirement, be willing and accepting that no one will do it as good as you (you get it – you may suck at “it” but in the mirror you are the best cause it’s your way… cough cough “pride” ….cough). Once you deal with this “realization” – tell yourself, no – convince yourself that if they do it 80% as good as you – it’s a win in the books. Exceed that magic 80% – and it’s a championship! I get that this is ripe with complications and challenge and imperfections – but it helps me to understand that others can do other jobs (things) better than me. But my brain needs that “mechanism” to allow empowerment and entrusting to happen; and the results that come with it.
It works for me – it may work for you.
Great people will do great things – let them. I use my 80% “mind trick”. Try it if you are struggling with this. Is what your doing right now where you should be spending your time. Give it to someone else with clear guidance and expectations, mentally craft that 80% and move over. My 80% rule may work, maybe not – but it may lead to something that works for you. Either way – as a leader you absolutely need to focus on bigger things. Great team members will excel at the rest if you let them. Entrust. Empower. Thoroughly communicate – and then get out of the way.