If you want to scale your business, then you also have to scale your team.
When I ask the leaders I work with to describe their most impactful development experience, they consistently refer to times when they have been stretched and challenged on the job. The great news is that as challenging experiences abound when you are growing a business, they can be a terrific asset to accelerate leaders developing the capabilities.
Here are three ways you can start scaling your leaders today at no cost. If you don't manage others, see how you can adapt these routines to develop yourself.
Dan Neary, Facebook's vice president for Asia-Pacific, told me, "I focus on doing my job and I let my team do theirs." In spite of Facebook's hyper fast pace of growth, his people are empowered to make decisions.
Neary gives his people one of the best resources for them to develop: decision-making authority and responsibility. He doesn't make the decisions for them and he doesn't micro-manage them to make the "right" decision.
He typically shows up to a meeting he has scheduled along with one of his team. In the meeting, Neary delegates. He gives clear instruction and really hands over to the person in the meeting without delay. He's economical with his time--and that's a good thing for a busy leader.
2. Leverage moments of truth.
Every day we experience critical events with stakeholders around us. These are "moments of truth" when we have to interact with people important to the successful outcomes of our work--such as customers, government officials, business partners, peers, or groups of employees.
During these moments, we have to see the bigger picture, consider diverse stakeholder expectations, communicate, influence, be charming. You get it.
It's hard to do well. Yet these are magical moments and a chance to develop an important growth capability.
I worked with a leader who always included a member of her team in meetings with important stakeholders. She always ensured the person joining her was clear on the purpose of the meeting and her expectation for the team member in terms of how he or she can contribute.
After the meeting, they did a quick debrief on what they learned--and also on how effectively the team member executed his or her role in the meeting. This routine costs nothing but a few extra minutes before or after the meeting but builds important relationships and capabilities.
3. Build decision-making capabilities.
We all encounter situations when employees go beyond their level of decision-making capability and make mistakes, or they don't go far enough and therefore limit their own development.
Both situations represent a perfect opportunity to build decision-making capability faster, which is essential for growth. If you want to grow fast, you need to allow more risk, learn from mistakes, and recover quickly.
A good example is when employee does not go far enough to make a decision. I call this "delegating up."
When you become aware that someone is asking you to make a decision when they could be making the decision themselves. Once you are aware that this is happening, don't solve the problem, and don't abandon the person either.
Ask him or her what information and support they need to make the decision. Then ask them how they can make this decision next time. This routine will ultimately liberate your time and build their capabilities to solve bigger problems.