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How Big is Your Plate

Portion control for leaders

Awhile back, I interviewed for a position working directly for an incredibly capable CEO. Many of my discussions with the CEO centered around the need to identify the things that only they could do. Time is finite (and undefeated) and a leader must constantly assess what is the best use of their time. Leaders often think they have more bandwidth than they do. That may be the confidence needed to build and lead organizations or it may be ego?

The following are some thoughts borne of similar discussions with other leaders and my own experiences:

1. What are the things, by virtue of my position or authorities, that only I can do?

2. Am I keeping things on my plate merely because I’m comfortable doing them?

3. Am I keeping things on my plate because I don’t think my team can do them? If so, do I have the right team?

4. If I delegate things on my plate to others can I better focus on that which only I can do?

5. Leaving room on my plate is not a sin – great ideas often come during downtime

8. Every minute I spend doing something that can and should be done by others is an opportunity cost that comes at the expense of becoming a better leader


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