There are never enough hours in the week to get everything done, right?
If you’re following the Entrepreneurial Operating System®, you recognize this problem for what it is: a capacity shortage.
The answer to capacity challenges isn’t to lower your expectations or “grind harder.” It’s to tackle the issue head on, using the EOS Toolbox™ to foster a culture of delegation and accountability within your organization.
What determines capacity?
Capacity is a function of time and skill. Without both, a person will struggle to do good work.
There’s no escaping the huge investment of hours that a major business initiative requires to be successful. A mistake companies often make when they establish their quarterly Rocks is to underestimate the time each Rock will take to complete. If your team isn’t completing its Rocks every quarter, you may have a time capacity problem.
Skill capacity is a common problem, especially for smaller teams. I see skill gaps pop up when a team has spread itself too thin. A Visionary for one of my clients is also acting as the director of sales, the CFO, and the human resources manager. No one has all the necessary skills to wear so many different hats and still look good.
Bear in mind what capacity is not. Following the GWC™ formula, capacity has nothing to do with understanding the job or wanting to do it. In fact, capacity is the Achilles heel of most motivated professionals—not just Visionaries, but potentially everyone within an organization.
Build capacity by letting go
Delegation is the most powerful strategy for building capacity.
The parable about letting go of the vine is one of the stickiest ideas in Gino Wickman’s Traction. It’s popular with Visionaries who know they need to let go, but it’s even more popular with their Integrators and other staff members who are eager to see the boss delegate.
Letting go of the vine isn’t only a lesson for the leaders at the top. It applies to anyone in a management position. The Visionary who is also trying to be the CFO and HR manager needs to outsource those roles ASAP. The same goes for a team manager who holds on to too much responsibility.
If letting go is so important, why is it so hard to do?
A star performer for one of my clients was promoted to a management role last year. Her day-to-day work remained the same, but now she has a junior employee working for her and the authority to hire contractors when needed.
Despite the potential for these changes to open up her capacity for more important work, she finds herself constantly pulled back into the small stuff. She told me she often feels like she has to do the work herself.
Letting go isn’t always easy
It’s a common issue, and one with some common causes. Traction focuses on the leader’s stubborn refusal to let someone else take charge. In small companies led by a founder who grew the business by doing everything, this stubbornness can be a big barrier to growth.
Her story highlights another part of letting go: customer expectations. When a key customer expects their work to be done by the senior staffer, a transition can feel especially risky. Especially in these situations, delegation needs to be taken seriously as a task unto itself. Plan it carefully and involve the customer in the process. In some cases, make it a Rock.
The hardest cause to overcome is having the wrong people in the junior seats: they don’t get it, want it, or have the capacity themselves to handle the work. The goal is always to hire the right people, but mistakes happen. Get the employee into a more appropriate seat if possible and find someone new to fill the key position.
Trust in the EOS Process®
Capacity doesn’t build itself. Creating it requires deliberate work.
Your EOS Implementer® can guide your team through the capacity building process, using the system’s tried-and-true tools. When capacity problems are at the top, your Implementer may take on the role of an executive coach. If the challenges are further down the chain of command, an Implementer can provide extra guidance to junior staffers while helping the senior leadership set realistic goals.