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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Gordon

Are You The Bottleneck In Your Business?

Jason is focused and driven, but during our routine call, I could see that he was flustered. Too much to do and too little time. His business model relies on website conversion, and the site wasn’t performing as expected. He hadn’t had time to fix the bugs and run the tests he had hoped to. The development team would soon be ready to work on their next project, but without completing the testing, Jason was unsure about which project to assign.

Jason had inadvertently become the bottleneck in his business, inhibiting his team and slowing down the company’s growth. Engineers were waiting for tasks instead of doing what they do best: solving problems. As we dug deeper, it turned out his engineering staff had a background in creatively solving problems and were more experienced than the founder in finding solutions to Jason’s obstacle.

Together, we came up with a plan. And it was simple.

We borrowed an idea from The Great Game of Business by Jack Stack. Instead of creating a plan and delegating tasks, Jason explained the key drivers of the business and how improving website conversion impacts growth. Then, he gave the team the freedom to figure out a plan to solve the problem and measure their success and a deadline. They would need guidance and feedback like any team would, so Jason was not be giving up input or control. But the team would get the pride of authorship and would feel the autonomy and responsibility of taking on a larger role in the company. They would understand how their work impacted the business, not just their team’s throughput of completed project tickets. And, as a result, Jason would have more time to keep working on their other tasks and stop holding up the rest of the company.

Delegation is a critical skill to learn as start-ups move from founding teams onto their first employees. It is one of the ways teams and people grow together. Whether you're bottlenecking your business or not, take the time to learn how to comfortably delegate: you'll certainly see the value!

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