There are four barriers that stand in the way of everyone and anyone. Once you realize what they are and define what they do, then and only then can you determine what abilities an associate should possess. You cannot readily find the people and means to overcome the barriers until you know what they are. Until you realize what those limitations are and how they affect our work, you should not add anyone to our staff.
You must have people who will add to your effectiveness not subtract from it.
You need associates who will complement your efforts not compete with them.
You must find staff members who coordinate with your efforts not confound them.
Barrier #1 – You Have Limited Time
Time is yours in two dimensions, circular and linear. Like wheels that carry a vehicle, twenty four hours roll around and around transporting you through morning to evening and morning again. Twenty-four hours for me, twenty-four for you. No one gets more.
On only two days will we receive less – the day we were born and the day life passes from us. Between those two days we use up all twenty-four hours every day and none can be carried forward to the next day. Every hour, every minute must be used as it arrives.
With a sense of urgency, many of us are driven to achieve and succeed. You cram days full of meetings. You participate in events. You take on more tasks and make yet another commitment. Finding enough time seems to elude us. The frustration at having too much to do and too little time in which to do it first warns of the need to get help. When it goes on long enough, when the frustration mounts to a critical stage, the need for help becomes imperative.
Let me state here that this usually comes about because you are doing good things, not bad. Raising a family, building a business, pursuing a dream, and making a difference in society are worthy pursuits. But having too much to do and even more we want to do presses upon us. If we could find competent people to shoulder the load with us, we could actually do more by doing less. The tyranny of the twenty-four hour day enslaves us if we attempt to do everything or nearly everything ourselves. That same twenty-four hour barrier can prod us to learn, and implement, new methods of getting more done with less effort.
Equally exacting as the twenty-four hour rotation, time’s linear dimension leads to an ultimate and unavoidable conclusion. Life will come to an end too quickly, too soon. Life’s fleeting nature creates the urgency to do more.
Unlike children for whom time moves slowly because they have so little capacity to plan beyond the immediate, it gathers speed for us nearer the end because there’s yet so much more we want to do, so little time in which to do it, and decreasing reserves of strength with which to do it.
The capacity to plan and execute plans makes each day seem too full and the number of days seem too few. Roger, the one whose story began this study, knows it all too well. A rare and dangerous heart condition prods him to complete what he’s started, to move farther down his list of challenges to address. He knows very well he doesn’t have forever. But the very process of increasing the pace threatens both his life and that of the organization he leads. Because of his heart condition, he should avoid too much stress, take more time off, learn to relax, and back off on commitments. His brush with death before the condition was discovered should impress upon him that the organization he leads will not have him forever. If it will continue to enjoy the considerable successes he’s led it into, a trained successor will be necessary.
What is Roger doing? He has backed off somewhat, but still works at a steady, fast, overtime pace. As to a successor, the last time I saw him he seemed less motivated to find one.
I don’t have a heart condition, at least to my knowledge. But I do have a number of Rogers in my range of acquaintances, and enough have passed on to emphasize to me that life has a linear limit. The lesson?
Ironically, it is the drive to succeed that points first to the imperative to do less!
Don’t simply get busier. Building and deploying strategic partners not only extends your reach as you work now, it extends your work far into the future.
You need, and must find, people whose values reflect your own but whose talents supplement your own.
In an organization, it is especially important to find someone whose style and gifts differ from your own. You have brought your group or company to where it is because of your unique capacities and if it hasn’t done so already, it will arrive at a point where it can’t go any further because of them as well. Find complementary people. Your talents are proven and necessary, and yours may be many, but not even you have them all.
On Monday, the second barrier in this series.