Examine the reasons why we find it so hard to delegate.
- Trust me, I know you're busy. Everyone knows. There is a saying, tell me what you value and I might believe you, show me your calendar and your bank statement and I will know what you value. As an executive, I know you value producing results along with creating a high-performing team. With regard to your overall effectiveness, there are things you control regarding your time and things you control regarding the organization. There are also ways to influence others and distractions that take you off task.
I like to look at problems and time management this way. There is a circle of control, a circle of influence, and a circle of concern. This is all about categorizing the important and urgent activities of our day and banishing low-value time wasters. The only two things you control regarding the circle of control is where you choose to spend your time and how you respond to your environment. That's your calendar and your attitude.
You absolutely control those two things, and they have a lot to do with our ability to focus. This is what I call leading self. The only thing you really control when leading an organization are the leadership levers of structure, process, and incentives. You absolutely control those things. And these levers have everything to do with how people behave, individually and in teams, and the sum of those behaviors is your culture.
Think about how city planners design intersections to move cars, buses, bicycles, and pedestrians. If they design the intersection well, people move efficiently and safely to get where they're going. Great design leads to predictable movement and predictable human behavior. What we do when leading the organization is exactly the same thing. Get people to move in the right direction efficiently and collaboratively.
Creating the right environment starts with design based on what we know about human behavior. Look at the middle circle, the circle of influence. This is all about people. Of course, we never control others, though we can influence. And that is best done when remembering people support what they helped create. This also means giving up power and control and allowing people to make mistakes, within reason. And this takes time and slows things down in the short run.
This is what I call leading others. Lastly, the circle of concern is where we often spend too much time, and that's a lot of the external stimuli like shiny new objects, competitors, the economy, and dreaded internal drama. When looking at problems and issues, it's important to step back and ask, is this worth my time? Is this essential? Is this something I can control or influence? Or is this just noise from the circle of concern? Will I take ownership? Do I have the stamina to see this through? In the end, as a C-suite executive, it's all about de-busying yourself to do less better.