Leadership Thought #345 – Focus on What You Do Well

May 1, 2012

Do a few things really, really well | CUiDiz

Focus on what you do well and then delegate everything else you can.  Many leaders spend far too much time on things they aren’t good at.  Leadership is about effectively growing, leveraging, and deploying assets.  If the top personnel resource in the company is being used inefficiently or ineffectively what does that say about the organization as a whole?  Time is finite and once it is wasted it is gone.

You don’t do yourself or the company any good if you spend a substantial amount of your time being mediocre or slightly above average at what you do.  Moreover, time is money and if senior people are focused on lower value-added activities, then the organization is not maximizing the return on its people investments.  I sometimes ask my clients to conduct time/activity audits to track what they actually do on a daily and weekly basis, and it can be an eye-opening experience for them.

One of my colleagues repeatedly tells his clients to put a post-it on their computer screen with the question: “Whose job am I doing right now?”  What a great question to always have top of mind.  I like to change it slightly to “Am I the right person to be doing what I am doing right now?”  Especially in smaller companies, my concern is less about role and responsibility and more focused on time and talent.  We often get hung up on hierarchy and titles in this country and it can be very much to our detriment.  The goal should be to get things done in the most effective way possible.

It is my contention that to be genuinely good at something you must like to do it.  One of the biggest complaints I get from leaders is they spend most of their time doing things they don’t like to do.  I always ask them the same question in response, “Why?”  If it is your company and you get to decide how it’s structured and who does what, then why would you burden yourself with tasks and responsibilities you don’t like or do well?    This doesn’t mean you will be 100% happy with what you do every day, but on balance, you should feel like you are adding the highest possible value to your business through how you leverage your skills/abilities.  In addition, this mindset should trickle down throughout your whole organization including factoring into your hiring decisions.  Imagine what would happen if everyone in your company got to do what they were best at most of the time – starting with you.