Oh entrepreneurial CEO…how you love to control, know and dabble in every aspect of your business. It’s probably how you started out, working the org chart of one, every detail carefully managed by you. But if you want to move beyond a business built for one, you must stop being the bottleneck.
Letting go is a common challenge when stepping into the role of a true entrepreneurial CEO (and now just someone who happens to work for themselves). The key is hiring talented, capable people and getting out of their way. That’s where CEO bottleneck syndrome becomes a problem.
You finally hired the help you so desperately needed…about 6 months ago, but who’s counting? You created roles and responsibilities that match their talents and get them excited about working for you. Now it’s time to hand over the keys.
AND you will as soon as you update that internal document they need to build the product manual and type out the list of article marketing sites you would like to write for and send them a summary of how you would like that new project to roll out…and so on.
You my entrepreneurial CEO friend are a bottleneck.
Delegating the last 5 or 10 percent of a project or a task is not delegating – it’s making someone’s life miserable as they wait for you to get your act together. But who can tell the boss to hurry up and get stuff done? Not them. It has to be you.
7 Ways to Build Accountability for Yourself
#1: Front End Load – Instead of setting up the project to require your input throughout, front end load your involvement so you won’t cause a bottleneck when you get busy with other priorities. Invest the time upfront to sketch it out in detail, even if to you that means a brain dump with your team taking notes.
#2: Problems, not Solutions – Give them problems, not solutions; questions, not answers. Believe it or not, people like to be challenged. Before you had help, you had to find solutions to every single problem. Now it’s time to let your team support you with their knowledge, and creative ideas.
#3: X Marks the Spot – Think of your job as providing a destination, not driving directions. Give your team an objective, and the key parameters and ask them to get there.
#4: Deadline for Input – If you really, REALLY must have the final say on something, give yourself a deadline for input. If you miss that deadline, instruct your team to assume it’s okay. I guarantee you will miss a few deadlines and it will go ahead without your input and you will realize that everything will be fine or the need to have a say will force you to find the time to get it done.
#5: Share Working Documents – Let your team look over your shoulder by setting up a centralized location for working documents. That way you can continue to work on it at your leisure without denying them access to the information until it’s done.
#6: Build in Follow-up Time – Let’s face it – if deadlines and deliverables were enough to motivate you, you wouldn’t be the bottleneck. Instead of stressing out over tasks you don’t have time for, build in the time following meetings to handle your to-do’s…immediately!
#7: When all else fails…Set up the company equivalent of an incomplete task ‘swear jar’. If you don’t get your stuff done, you are buying drinks!