Shannon Waller dives into a common challenge for a 10x growth team: how to support team members who need assistance without triggering feelings of insecurity. You know they need help to free up their valuable time, but how can you make them feel supported, not threatened? Shannon has tips on fostering Unique Ability® Teamwork and growth mindsets to prevent territoriality and roadblocks to team creativity.
What happens when the person you hired to help free up your time becomes swamped with too many tasks?
Babs Smith says, “I always want people to have capacity. I never want people to be fully used up because if there’s no capacity, there’s no room for creativity.”
Dan Sullivan says, “A too tightly scheduled entrepreneur cannot transform.” This is true for entrepreneurial team members too.
The dangers of not laying the proper groundwork before adding new hires or technological support include:
- Team member feels like they’ve failed.
- Team member feels job is threatened.
- Team member becomes territorial about their role and tasks.
- Teamwork becomes bottlenecked, with people working around one another instead of with one another.
- There is no energy left for creative solutions that lead to 10x growth for the business.
Laying the proper groundwork involves:
- Reassuring team members that their performance and contribution are valued.
- Open conversation about bigger future plans for the entrepreneur, for the business, and for that team member.
- Regular conversations about the team member’s Unique Ability® and how to continue growing and expanding it.
- Regular check-ins on the team member’s Activity Inventory™: What tasks can they be freed up from doing?
- Frequent and ongoing conversations about frustrating tasks that can be better handled by someone else who loves doing them or technology that can do them more efficiently.
For everyone and the business to grow 10x, everyone should be using more of their Unique Ability and none of their “Incompetent” activities:
- When working in Unique Ability, we are 10x more effective, productive, and profitable.
- In our Excellent activities, we are 2x more effective.
- In our Competent activities, we are at 1x. o In our Incompetent activities, we can be -10x.
Setting up positive expectations and reassurances when introducing new resources can help alleviate fears and resistance from team members.
Regular communication and discussions about offloading tasks and leveraging people’s Unique Ability can create a culture of growth and productivity.
Territorialism and power struggles within a team can hinder collaboration and creativity, so it’s important to encourage a focus on Unique Ability and expanding growth opportunities.
Shannon Waller Today, I am going to talk about finding Whos for your Whos, and the trials and tribulations and opportunities that comes with leveraging your team. Stay tuned.
Hi, Shannon Waller here, and welcome to Team Success. Really interesting conversation came up when I was coaching the 10x workshop about a month or so ago, and it was about supporting the people that you hire to support you. Or as I like to call it, finding Whos for your Whos, and the Who Not How concept. And I've been thinking about this from a couple of different angles, as I often do, because once an idea comes to my mind all of this evidence in the world comes to support it.
One of the things that's really interesting though is that can be a little more challenging. Let me just set the context. You're going to find some amazing Whos to leverage you so that you're freed up to do more of your Unique Ability. Hopefully you're not doing anything you're incompetent at or competent at, and this will even free you up from what you're excellent at so you can really do that deep dive into Unique Ability.
So you find one person who's going to support you in a new way that hasn't been done before, and that person comes on board and they're so excited for the role and they're so happy and they feel accomplished and they're achieving. And then a few months later, you notice that they're getting pretty swamped. They're working crazy hours, they're working really hard, they're doing a fabulous job, but you're like, "Hmm, I think I might need more help, more support."
So you, being the very resourceful human that you are, goes out and finds a new Who, and you're like, "Great. Hey, I've got some support for you. Can't wait to introduce you to this person. I think they're going to be amazing. I think you guys will be a great team." And your first person goes, "You mean I'm not doing a good enough job?" And they feel threatened, they feel stressed, they feel as though they're failing, which is none of what you want to have happen. You're like, "No, there's too much for one person." And it can be quite a mindset shift. And if you've ever been in this role, then you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. Whereas someone finds you support and you're like, "I didn't ask for support. I'm doing it all." It's that whole shift from rugged individualism to Unique Ability teamwork, as we like to talk about at Coach.
It's interesting though. It's so critical to break through this. And I think the context, I want to give you a whole bunch of strategies here because the context is really 10x growth. If you're going to grow exponentially, someone being at full capacity doesn't actually help you grow. I really love Babs, who's co-founder of Strategic Coach and person who runs the place. She's like, "I always want people to have capacity. I never, ever want people to be fully used up, because if there's no capacity there's no room for creativity." Dan even says it differently for entrepreneurs, he says, "A too tightly scheduled entrepreneur cannot transform." Totally true.
Same is true for team members. Everyone needs capacity so they have room to think and to grow and to create and to find new, more efficient ways of doing things. So creating capacity on your team is one of the most strategic things you can do, but you kind of have to set it up with them in advance. That would be the ideal. Now, you could be in a situation where you're like, "Oh, that's the pushback I'm getting." You almost need to take a couple of steps back and say, "Hey, by the way, I'm super excited. You're incredible. I love working with you. You provide incredible leverage, and we're going even further, faster. And to do that, I need to free you up. I need to free you up to do even more things for me that you're too full, you're too much at capacity to be able to take on. I have bigger plans for you." And then share some of those plans, please, because that'll give people confidence. And then you say, "But to do that, I need to get some things off the bottom of your list."
So that's what you can do when you're already in the middle of it. Ideally, you'll actually let people know in advance that every 3, 6, 12 months, you're constantly going to reevaluate to figure out what they love to do and do best, their Unique Ability. And then what are those things that maybe they're really good at but they don't love? So they could be excellent, they could be competent. Obviously if they're incompetent, have them get those things off their plate yesterday because they're costing everyone money, including them. So you really want to coach people that this is normal.
"Every once in a while we are going to look at your role and download some of those things that don't thrill, you don't jump out of bed in the morning to want to do. The things you procrastinate on. Every 3, 6, 12 months, we are going to look at that list. I do that," you can tell them, "and then I'm going to have you do that too. So expect that we are going to grow our team, expect that we're going to grow our resources, expect that we're going to use technology."
Just read fabulous book, AI As Your Teammate by Evan Ryan, and just looking at the leverage that AI can provide, which is phenomenal. And all automation actually, which is very, very exciting. It can double, triple our productivity and reduce the stress factor and the hassle factor so much. But when you put that mindset into people's thinking at the get-go, it makes it so much easier later on when you actually do have them do what we call an activity inventory and list all their activities and then categorize them. What do they love to do and are passionate about and are really good at, versus what they don't love to do, don't feel as much passion, don't get as much energy from.
And you set up that expectation when you show up with a new resource, person in hand, new technology, what have you, you've set people up for success. Because here's what happens if you don't. If you don't do that people immediately go into The Gap. They think they're not good enough, as I mentioned. They're afraid that they're screwing up, that you're not telling them something. They think you're actually replacing them with this new person and you're going to expect them to train the new human. And as soon as that person's up and trained, they're gone. I have to tell you, having worked with team members since 1995, this is exactly how the thought process go. They immediately go into scarcity. They don't think it's an abundant move, they think you're trying to replace them.
And this conversation, if you think about it over history of work, has happened many, many, many times. So you really have to counteract it incredibly powerfully, like five times the positive messages to outweigh the one negative one. You really want to reassure them. And so get specific, get details. "I could never give you up. You do this like nobody else does. You have Unique Ability in this area. I totally trust you. I count on you. I can't imagine anyone else taking over this part of your role. And this other stuff, we both know you don't love it. We both procrastinate on it. Why don't we find someone who actually loves the stuff that we don't so that we can move on to bigger and better things," and then let them know what some of those bigger and better things are. Don't leave them guessing.
So you have to really work to create that trust, because I have to tell you, their own internal conversation is very different. Because often they're more structure-based, they're more rule-based, they're more hierarchy-based, and so they probably worked hard to get to that role and to get that level of trust with you. And then sharing it was not in their nervous system, was not how they were thinking to approach things, so it can be very frightening. And if you acknowledge that and appreciate it and reassure them, then they'll welcome the new person with open arms. Otherwise, they can actually prevent successful teamwork. But again, if you can set up that expectation, I think it makes a huge difference. And then follow through. Most important thing ever. Really go through this and say, "Hey, I'm freeing myself up to do more of my Unique Ability. I want you to do the same. Who's the next Who that you think that we could use? What are some Hows that we don't enjoy doing anymore? Is there a better, smarter, faster way to do that?" And having that regular conversation will make it normal. Normalizing things is powerful. They'll look forward to it, they're like, "Yeah, I've been thinking about this one thing. It's not very big but it annoys the heck out of me." Expense sheets come to mind for me. I loathe them. I can do them, I'm good at them, but I hate them. Offloading that was a key priority a while ago.
So whatever those sometimes small things are, freeing someone up ... Sometimes it's 5% of their brain, but it's 50% of their mental energy. Wouldn't it be great to get 50% of your key team members' mental energy back? Yes, it would. It just sets them up for success. But again, you want to create this expectation that you're always going to be growing, that you're always going to be Who-ing yourself up, and that includes them too. You're going to be Who-ing them up. That's a powerful expectation. It means that people don't get stuck. They don't get blocked. They keep growing. They actually keep paying attention to the things that they want to let go of as well as the things that they want to keep. They're aware of their own energy level and capability when they do certain tasks. They don't get locked into power struggles, huge. They don't go, "This is my territory, no one else is allowed in."
In writing Multiplication by Subtraction, this was probably the story I heard the most often. Where people owned a role, they had diminishing capabilities to deliver on the results, but they were so territorial about their space that it prevented teamwork. People went around them, they avoided them. They didn't let them know about new opportunities. This person ended up getting isolated, which made them act even stranger. So please, please don't let that happen. Don't let territorialism happen in your company. The only thing people get to do is focus on their Unique Ability and expand the positive impact of that. You want that to be the message, rather than climbing some kind of a ladder or being territorial about a certain role. That completely shuts down creativity. It is not how you're going to grow 10x. It's not Who Not How-ing, it's none of those things. So you want to nip that in the bud and make sure that people have that expectation that they are going to keep growing and keep leveraging themselves, and you will help fund the resources to free them up so that you can all grow 10x. As you can tell, I feel fairly strongly about this, I hope you do too. Beware of people being territorial. It is a massive danger sign, it's a red flag in my area.
But the other part of this is, make sure that you're supported. Don't you get trapped in competent or excellent, make sure that you're always striving for Unique Ability, and Who yourself up. One of the insights I had at our Couples Connection workshop actually was that Unique Ability is 10x, excellent ability is 2x. We can do double what other people do when we're doing what we're excellent at, but when we do what we're unique at, we are 10x as effective and as productive and as profitable. So why wouldn't you want everyone to do Unique Ability? That's how you're going to 10x. I mean, then if you want me to finish the model, competent is 1x and incompetent is minus 10x, and subtracting. So keeping everyone at the minimum excellent and preferably unique is actually the way to grow, which I think is what we're all looking for. But you have to help your team members have that growth mindset and have it not be a threat, but in fact, have it be an opportunity.
All right, that is it for today. Thank you so much for listening. I love having these conversations with you. Any thoughts or comments or questions, please let me know at email@example.com. And as always, here's to your team's success.