There's tremendous value in being a go-to resource and becoming indispensable at work. But, reaching new levels of success requires letting go of certain day-to-day tasks.
Delegation, while an essential part of leading effectively, can be difficult -- especially if you're a detailed-oriented person who truly enjoys execution.
Last week my client Emily shared that she felt stuck in this expert-to-leader trap.
For years, she played a big role in project management, despite being the CEO of her small company. Now that the company was entering a growth stage, she realized her hands-on approach was no longer sustainable. She needed more time, white space, and mental clarity to focus on the company's vision and strategy.
I posed one simple question to her: How can you productize yourself?
Productizing yourself comes down to creating systems that allow you to streamline your efforts. Your expertise can spread without your direct involvement, freeing you up to focus on the bigger picture.
In other words, I was asking Emily to think about how she could scale the knowledge locked away in her head to make it more widely accessible.
If you find yourself in a similar situation -- whether you're an entrepreneur, freelancer, or a manager moving to leadership -- here are ways to scale your personal knowledge in a way that give you back time while ensuring your expertise has impact.
Create standard operating procedures
It's likely that your current job consists of fairly predictable tasks. Create detailed checklists of each step you take while completing them so that another person could replicate the process in your absence.
This makes it incredibly simple when it comes time to hand-off responsibilities. It also gives you peace of mind tasks will be completed up to your quality standards when outsourcing.
Look for patterns
Start to notice what questions people ask you again and again. You can then organize these into a shareable document.
This creates your own version of frequently asked questions, which you can immediately point people towards when they ask to pick your brain.
Talk don't type
You can expedite delegation by speaking instructions out loud rather than typing them. Using a transcription software does double-duty:
- Translating your ideas from audio to text (which is great to appeal to different ways people learn)
- Saving your thoughts in a way that can be accessed later
You can also send voice memos instead of long emails. Of course picking up the phone is always a way to make communication faster, but the point goal of scaling yourself is to create assets that memorializes your knowledge so referenced in the future.
If you're walking someone through a step-by-step procedure, do a screen capture. You can take screenshots or record the full process with your audio narrative. Use the videos to create a training library that can be used by new hires or an assistant.
These sanity-saving approaches allow you to prioritize your time, free you up to do big picture thinking -- all while honoring your dedication to helping and empowering others.