As an executive coach, one of the first things I address with my clients is how to find more time to do the things which will increase their ability to focus on growth. For instance, one executive was double checking all invoices – using 15% of his time to do so. He did so to make sure everything was exact. Yet, when looking at what took place during his vacation weeks, he realized that 95% of all invoices went out without problems when he wasn’t around. Using that newly found time to grow the sales department, revenues (andnubmer of invoices!) increased to everyone’s satisfaction.
The reason I mention this is because there’s a common cycle with my clients. First we set a goal to make more time for the executive, then we observe increased company growth. (The average Vistage member in my groups (as well as others) is growing 25-50%.) Then the topic comes up again and we need to reallocate existing schedules! Indeed, great executives constantly find more time, grow their domain, and then need to repeat the process. Reading an article by Alina Dizik in the Wall Street Journal on my way over to Shanghai where I served as a Visiting Professor in June), I came across a list of steps, many of which I’d also recommend. So let me share some of the key ideas.
- Hire people willing to take challenges. We all know that delegating work to the right people buys you time, but that means HIRING those people in the first place is the key. In other words, they need to be people who, like you, are open to the challenge of growth – taking on new responsibilities and delegating what they can to other people.
- Rather than choose a specific person, if options exist, give people a chance to volunteer. It’s a great way to learn about specific career-drives and skill-sets of your people.
- Make sure the person understands the goal of the project – not just individual activities – so he/she can master how to achieve it. Set a deadline, don’t micromanage and celebrate milestone achievements and ultimate success.
- Use the process to help you delegate additional projects
What experiences have you had? What advice would you give such executives? Share with us.