I spend a lot of time working with founders and their senior leadership teams, helping them build a path to scalability in their business. Given the demand for growth in today's market, it's no wonder that many organizations are seeking the accelerated or exponential growth that true scalability can bring.
One of the advantages of scaling is that you're able to put increasingly more demand on the organization without adding an equal measure of overhead. All while still producing the same level of quality. One of the most overlooked aspects in achieving that is the ability of individual leaders to scale their impact.
For any leader, there are three central demands laid on them; their time, their expertise, and their decisions. Here's how to maximize each of those to scale your impact.
1. Trade one-on-one functional updates for team discussion.
A recent Deloitte study showed that the average manager has between 9.7 and 12 direct reports. If you multiply that by 30 minutes per report for a weekly one-on-one, even at the low end that's close to five hours a week just catching up with their team.
You can bet that a lot of the information shared in those sessions are similar across the range of reports; from company updates to changes in your processes to general team news.
Rather than duplicating those efforts, get your team together once a week for a 45-minute meeting, and handle all functional updates and questions collectively. Be ruthless about dealing with the issues in the room, rather than taking everything "off-line." That leaves you with a full half-day a week freed up to spend however you want.
2. Keep a central repository of your expertise.
How often do you find yourself repeating the same answer in an email or verbally to the same issue or question from your team? Most leaders waste a lot of effort sharing something with a single individual only for that information exchange to disappear into the ether.
Start building a central repository of answers to common questions that your team brings to you. A simple Google doc would be sufficient. Any time you find yourself answering a question you know someone else is going to have at some point add it to the repository. Then you can quickly point your team to that specific question when it arises.
3. Push decision-making deeper into your team.
If your people are constantly looking to you to make decisions or to give your stamp of approval, you're fast going to become a bottleneck. Over time your team will slow down as they wait for critical decisions, and you'll start to feel overwhelmed, even burned out.
Give your direct reports more control over the decisions that need to be made, reserving only the most sensitive or strategic for yourself. Trust your people to make the right decisions, give praise when they succeed, and use failure as a learning opportunity.
When you take these three steps, you'll find you have more time, are more in control and can scale your impact.