Let Go and Go Farther

Bruce Wilson - April, 2023

I was surprised to read in a recent global survey of CEOs that 43% of CEOs responding reported that they don’t encourage debate or dissent. Even more surprising, 53% said their managers didn’t tolerate small-scale failure, and a whopping 76% said they didn’t encourage their people to make independent strategic decisions.

If you see yourself in this data, your race to the future just found its first hurdle.

In an evolve-or-get-left-behind business environment, winning will only be possible when CEOs are freed up to lead vision and improve the speed and quality of results. CEOs who excel in delegating generate 33% higher revenue, and they achieve more in less time.

When people ask me what my secret to success is, the key to success in every area of my life has been the result of choosing highly capable people I can delegate to and then get out of their way.

Three things make this approach work. I play the long game with a team of people I trust. I believe that progress is more important than perfection, so room for nimble maneuvering is built-in. And because time will always be my most valuable resource, knowing how to delegate effectively gives me more of it.

Here are six letting-go actions you can use to get more done:

1. Trust and empower.

Build a culture where people do best without being micro-managed. Give employees the resources they need to do their job, guide them to think critically and ask the right questions, and step back into a mentoring role. Pushing day-to-day decisions closer to where they impact operations will give you more time to focus on your business.

2. Save time.

Declare war on endless meetings and emails. If it takes more than three emails to solve a problem, pick up the phone. Collaboration software can fall into the same trap. Limit extended group chats by creating communication protocols, and well-prepared briefing points up front to speed up the rhythm of decision making.

3. Eliminate ambiguity.

Improve time management by reducing confusion, increasing cohesion and morale, and giving your team the tools to perform at a higher level. Practice consistent protocols, be clear on goals, expectations and responsibilities. Identify who has a voice and who has a vote; who’s on point for executing; who is accountable for the outcome, and how the outcome will be measured.

4. Give your employees room to make small-scale mistakes.

Build risk mitigation into the process to give your teams room to make course corrections that don’t involve damage control. This is not only how people learn, but it also allows everyone to move forward and embrace a mindset where progress is more important than standing still.

5. Do not let blame creep into your culture.

Establish expectations for transparency and accountability so that blame is not assigned for decisions gone wrong. Conduct a knowledge-gained review to discuss what went well and what could have gone better. Capture and document the lessons learned to improve future projects and not repeat mistakes.

6. Crawl behind the eyes of your customer.

You can never stay too close to your customers (or your employees, for that matter). Putting the needs of the people you work with at the center of your business is the single biggest step in making customer centricity as much of a strategy as it is a core value and a culture. Empower your employees to think and act from the perspective of your customers. Ask, how will this decision benefit our customer, how will this improve their experience, impact our community, our business, and our ability to remain competitive? Turn your employees into customer advocates with the ability to take tangible action, and you will give yourself a gift of time that can be spent catapulting your business to new heights.


Reprinted with permission. GIE Media. Lawn & Landscape April 2023 (c)

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