A lot of business leaders love getting things done and love personally doing things. It is gratifying to be part of a process where you step by step get things done, and then you see it finish. But being that much of a controlling person stunts growth and creates a shadow of doubt from other people of what your actual capabilities are. It scares people when you hang on to things and you want to do micro tasks.
You should only be doing what only you can do. You can’t do everything yourself. You should not be doing what other people can do for you. You need to employ people so you can hammer down bigger obstacles and get bigger goals completed. The question is how do you delegate? Learn the Growth Hand Off methodology of crossing off things on your to-do-list, building personal momentum, and getting things done.
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The Growth Hand Off
I did a similar podcast to the core point of this but I didn’t do it any justice. I didn’t get any comments on it. I’ve never had anybody at a speaking engagement mention that podcast. I did it a disservice and I know why. I’m going to hit something that I’ve done once before, but I’m going to hit it quite frankly from left field. I’m going to hit it the way I’m hitting it personally. As I shared some time ago on the podcast, the past few days have been the most chaotic. I’m going to say painful in a way of living life constantly without energy. I call it ATP for the brain. It has been monumentally, continual lack of focus because of the insurmountable amount of things we decided to put on our plate all at the same time.
If you hadn’t been with us for some time or you’re new to the podcast, we run a 100-plus employee company. We’re in our 25th year. My wife and I have a phenomenal management team. 50 plus people work for us in the US, 50 plus in an office in Romania. Two or three larger affiliate partnerships in other countries. A handful of other affiliate partnerships that is smaller in other countries and in the US. To say we’re busy is an understatement. We do a book or two a year, hundreds of podcasts a year and then all of a sudden, at the same time we make a snap decision to move our office in the US. About twenty minutes away to a building seven times larger. We’re jumping from 3,000 square feet to 22,000.
We buy a building, we’ve got the building and it’s a massive renovation remodel. We decide to do a slightly decent-sized renovation of our house and at the same time we bring in an outside consultant, a gentleman that did an overhaul of Domino’s Pizza and some other major companies to come in and restructure management, along Jim Collins’ Good To Great model and institute and many other systems and processes.
It is like literally ripping off a Band-Aid that had a lot of hair in it. I can’t describe how painful the past few weeks have been from just trying to keep up, trying to breathe, not suffocating and at the same time I’ve been cracking up every single day. It’s been fun watching my wife, myself, my kids even and a lot of our management all dealing with the same thing because the amount of input coming at us of people needing answers to small questions is ramped up aggressively.
Finally, I’m a couple weeks in and I’m realizing, “This is exposing a fatal flaw of mine.” I’ve had it for years. I will probably carry it to the grave and that is I love getting things done. I love personally doing things. Like a builder, I love the satisfaction of overhauling a room and then dropping the carpet. Putting the trim down when you could see that room take shape. It is gratifying to be part of a process where you step by step get things done, and then you see it finish.
You see the finished product, “It’s awesome,” but being that much of a controlling person stunts growth, creates a shadow of doubt from other people of what your actual capabilities are. It scares people when you hang on to things and you want to do micro tasks. It should scare people because as a business phrase, you should only be doing what only you can do.
As a business owner, as an entrepreneur, one of the great clichés is, “I only do what only I can do. I’m Ken Courtright. I’ve got to make sure I’m not doing what other people can do for me.” That’s not a negative. People need jobs. I need to employ people to get bigger obstacles, hammer down to get bigger goals completed. I can’t do everything myself. I need to do what only I can do.
If I’m doing anything else that anybody else could do, I am a bad leader. The question is, “How do you delegate?” What is a system that anybody, anywhere and in this industry can do at any time? About three, four, five, six podcasts ago I talked about at the end of the podcast, a very quick methodology using four different columns on an Excel spreadsheet to knock out some to-dos.
This is exact example I gave. You’re stressed out. You drive to Dunkin’ Donuts. You breathe. You come back with a piece of paper saying, “Before 5:00 PM on Friday of this week, I’m getting these ten things done or I’m not leaving my office.” Let’s use the same methodology in which I described. You use four columns on an Excel spreadsheet, or some people turn over a piece of paper folded in four quadrants, like four vertical columns. Column one has one item on it, you write it down.
Column two, when you flip the paper over, you’re only looking at it at a single column, column two, it has two items on it. You flip it again like a fan, you’re looking at column three and that has three items on it. Of course, column four has four items on it. You’re only looking at one column at a time. You’re crossing off things on your to-do-list, you’re building personal momentum and you’re getting things done.
You’re creating what’s called a habit. Your habits turn into actions which form character, etc. With that, what can we do in a way bigger way than doing things? Something that is far bigger and far superior from a leadership standpoint, and a get her done standpoint, our handoffs. Here’s what I’d like to ask you, could you take 30 minutes and come up with a list of ten items that you know in your heart you shouldn’t be doing?
Other people can do it, virtual assistants can do it, employees could do it, interns could do it, relatives could do it, and children could do it. You make this list and you prioritize it from the most urgent when you need to get handed off to the least urgent one you need to get handed. All ten are important. They got to be done by someone else starting next week or next month.
You make four columns and you put the first handoff, the most critical handoff that you’ve got to teach somebody else how to do in column one. You don’t look at column two, which has two other handoffs until column one is done. Here’s what’s magical. If these are the top ten time sucks that you’re doing that’s sucking your time, that other people could do and you hand off one. A couple days later, you hand off two more. A couple of days later you hand off three other micro tasks.
Here’s one for you. How about checking your own email? Do you guys think I check my own email with 270 inbound emails a day? How could I possibly function when I have other Skypes coming in, texts coming in, calls coming in? If you’re going to grow, what you think is moderate management of your current texts, emails and Facebook, you’re going to have to make some big boy and big girl decisions if you’re going to grow. Do you think executives of Fortune anything companies check their own email?
They may have a personal email that very few people have and they may check that personal email, their wife, their kids, their whatever. You’ve got to get real a little bit and prepare for growth. I’m going to give you a couple things that why don’t you jump two, three steps ahead and be a bigger business owner before you’re a bigger business owner. It’s called faith it until you make it. It’s not fake it until you make it. Mary Kay Ash started that phrase. I’m not going to give you more than a couple.
Number one, if you’re still checking your own email by next week, one week from today, you have at least a virtual assistant who has an email tree with a one, two, three of importance. Where, “Sally, Mark, whoever you go to, if you get an email from so and so, that’s my partner in Indonesia or that’s my vendor that sells me supplies. He’s a number one. I need you encapsulate in one sentence what the email is about and send me an email. Tell me the time and date stamp, so if I do need to go up in it to get further details, I can reply direct to him.
If you give me a one sentence overhaul of his three-paragraph email, I can give you a quick response that you will then type in. I will be able to dictate verbally ten to fifteen responses to the ten to fifteen emails of the 200 that need my attention. Mark or Sally, if I continue to check these 279 emails every single day, and the world will realize 270 of them are not urgent or important. That could be handled by other people. You could get to know based on my email tree that these simply need to get forwarded to somebody else so they could take the proper action. Instead of me being the person that forwards him to the proper people, you can do that, etc.” Email would be one of the first ones.
Number two, something that should get put off to someone else, I call executive planning. Meaning, Einstein says, “The brain that got you into the jam, can’t necessarily get you out of the jam.” One thing that I learned early on that I need to give to somebody else is I need to bring up to others issues, challenges, problems, potential opportunities. I need other people, could be vendors, could be mentors, and could be coaches to help me strategize a plan. Maybe I write the plan but I need somebody else to hold me accountable to a date of when I’m going to handoff the execution of that plan to somebody else. To say this differently, number one, one thing that you need to stop doing yourself is your own email. It’s almost borderline impossible to check email daily and run a company.
Number two, I’m going to call it scheduling, if you will. Think about the old movies, the black and whites. Think of the executive. Here’s what I want you to picture. How many movies have you seen back in the day? You don’t see it much now because of politics where for every male executive there was a female two foot away. No matter where he went, she was there with a notepad in hand. He would walk into the office, she would hand him ten pieces of paper. These are the people you need to call. These are the times you need to call them. Here’s your schedule for the day. He quickly, almost every time would say, “Cancel that meeting. These five people, I don’t need to call back. I talked to him yesterday,” then you’ll see a very quick interaction. That person was both his email checker. She was the receptionist, she was this and that and also his scheduler.
Most executives use two different people for that. I don’t want to give you the other eight. That’s your job. What ten things are you doing that other people could be doing? Quite frankly, now that you hear this podcast, you realize it’s almost shameful that you’re still doing these mundane tasks. Here’s what Ken is here to tell you. The longer you hold onto these mundane tasks, the longer you’re repeating to yourself the excuse of why you are never going to grow at the rate you should be growing. For episode 322, I believe, this is called The Handoff. You’re going to make ten things you’ve got to hand off. You’re going to put them in four columns.
If this podcast hits you, would you please email me at Ken@IncomeStore.com and give me some feedback on this? For anybody out there that is currently dealing with a business topic or issue that you’d love me to discuss, you’ve never heard me podcast on it before. You might guess that in 25 years, growing faster than let’s say all eighteen million US companies except a few hundred maybe I’ve come across that before or consulted on it with our 3,100 clients that we consult in some way, shape or form.
If there are certain things where you could say, “Here’s the industry I’m in. My current business challenge is. Ken, if this was your challenge, what would you do?” If you’ve got something like that and you’d love me to talk on it, what I would do if I had that challenge, please email me Ken@IncomeStore.com. As you are aware, that email will be read by somebody else. That one, 100% of the time in its entirety will be forwarded to me with a three-word subject line for your podcast. For Ken Courtright and Today’s Growth: Growing Business Today, Episode 322, The Handoff. Hope this helps. Take care.