Do It Yourself to See Something You’re Missing

by Shaun R Smith on January 26, 2010

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Sometimes you have to do it yourself.

I know this flies contrary to what a lot of gurus tell you about delegating or outsourcing everything possible – especially low value, low skill, and low fun tasks.

I am a big proponent of delegating.  There is an art and a skill to it.  Too often, our mistake as business owners or managers is trying to do too much ourselves.  We think no one can do it better than us, so we don’t take the time to train anyone, and that thought becomes self-fulfilling.

However, sometimes you have to do something yourself – even something that is already being effectively delegated.  Sam Walton walked the stores of Wal-Mart throughout his entire life as founder and head of the company.  I have an associate who founded and runs a software programming company.  This company makes medical claims processing software for insurance companies and third party administrators to use.  He also runs a service center where they process claims for clients.  The processors get paid $8 – $12 per hour.  Yet the CEO insists on sitting down at least once a month to process some claims himself.  He finds that his staff adjusts to the software and the way it works instead of using their creativity and boldness to push back on the programming team to make it better.

A similar thing happened to me this weekend.  I have a cleaning lady who cleans my floors.  She has been using the same mop and bucket for years.  This weekend, I had a spill that I had to clean up (my cat is sick).  I went to get the mop and bucket and found that the mop is TOO WIDE for the bucket unless it is filled almost to the top.

How many mops are there in your business is that your team trying to make fit instead of asking for a new mop, or bigger bucket?

Photo by: http://www.flickr.com/photos/criminalintent/ / CC BY-SA 2.0

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