12. Sabotage!

Tuesday, September 05, 2023

Smooth Operator/Podcast/12. Sabotage!

11. Clearing Your Desk


We've talked about how to identify and prioritize tasks to offload to other team members to free yourself up for emerging tasks to move the company forward.

If you’ve followed that, then you’ve already seen a couple of opportunities to offload one or more of your tasks to other team members. However, before you pull the trigger on that, there’s a big pitfall that you need to be aware of which can have major negative implications to what you’re trying to do.

Doing this one activity can completely sabotage all the other good things you do for your team.

Learn more in this episode.

Learn more at https://www.adamliette.com

Discover the 5 secrets to run your business like a Special Operator: https://www.adamliette.com/sof

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Welcome back to smooth operator, I'm your host, Adam Liette. So good to be back, as we do this really two part podcast where Part one was earlier in the week where we talked about your priority list your task list things that are currently on your desk, and how to prepare and actually identify the different tasks that you should be looking to delegate and get off your desk.

So you can fill it right back up, let's be honest, we're operators, we're never going to have a clean desk, we're going to keep it nice and messy, it's just a matter of getting the right mess on our desk. So we talked about how to offload responsibilities, how to really identify that and just the various processes that I've used to help me rack and stack my different task list. So if you follow that, then you've already probably seen a couple of opportunities to offload one or more of your tasks to other team members.

However, before you gotta pull the trigger on that, I want to talk about a major pitfall that you need to be aware of which if you do this, and you do it incorrectly, can have major negative implications to eventually successfully offloading that and supporting your team member. Let's start with the basic purpose, what are we trying to do, we're trying to take a task that systemized and move it completely off your desk to another team member.

If you're preparing to do this, I suggest building out a training plan some, some checks in their SOPs are preferable, and then walk them through the process that you employ. Don't just hand it to them in a Slack message and say you got it, take the time meet one to one allow for them to have questions allow for that discovery period that they're going to need to go through.

And this allows you then to hand off the task with confidence, a bit of relief. And let's be honest, a whole hell of a lot of anxiety, that something isn't going to go exactly right, you know that you're the team member is not going to do something that you would have done or they're going to do something that you wanted to have done or vice versa. I mean, the whole gamuts there.

But actually, it's kind of unrealistic to ever believe that things are gonna go perfect, isn't it. And we all remember, the first time that we took over some of the roles that we currently have in our companies or maybe even created them from scratch. If you look back with honesty, there were roadblocks or things that you broke as well, I know I sure as heck did. processes that were missed emails or poorly communicated places we screwed up.

But we do, we survived. And we learned from those experiences, we don't make those same mistakes anymore, because we had to make them the hard way. And so it's important to keep that in mind as we're going through this process. Because there's a very real danger, that when you're going through this process, you're going to end up sabotaging your ascension plan for the team member that you're now in a supporting role for you're no longer doing that job, you're in a supporting role.

And the biggest way that you sabotage this whole process is by trying to take over for them feeling the need that you can jump in to help them without being invited under the notion that you're doing the best for, you know, what is the best for the company. Most of the times, if you're an online company, we work in these various tools. If you offload something that lives within a specific tool, you need to keep your ass out of it, unless you're invited in build mechanisms for them to invite you for them to ask you for support, and then stay out of their lane. So you don't jump in and jump over the top of them.

For example, I see this, I've been going through this with some customer service stuff that's was on my desk and it's no longer on my desk. A team member now has that. But I am available in a supporting function to tag in to ask questions, but that's the that's the key. The team member that is empowered to now own this section of our company has ownership has the leadership and they invite me in. I'm in a supporting role. What this actually does when we jump in, it does two things.

The first is that it lets the team member know well if I don't get it, it's okay. They're going to jump in. It's letting them know that oh we're still going to make sure it how happens they don't fill it fully have to have ownership of it yet. And that's a problem. But the actually, the worst problem that comes from doing this by jumping in is it conveys the idea that we don't fully trust the person that we just put in charge of that activity. We give it to them, we hand over our SOPs, our training plan, and then spend all our time looking over their shoulders and questioning the decisions that they're making.

Now, as operators, we're naturally inclined to want to look out for our team, to try to create an environment where they can be successful, we naturally care about their emotional health and want to make sure that they have the support they need. And that's a very positive attitude. But in this case, we're turning it up side down on its head when we're transferring our responsibilities to another team member. Sorry, recently took some training on this.

So it was really eye opening that spelled it out in a way that I won't forget, it was all about triangles, J triangle isation. And how, when we operate in certain ways, we can have the inverse effect on our team members. As an operator, we feel like we're being supportive, we're helping in our own convoluted way. But what we're actually doing, we're turning our team members into a victim, our supporting, while it seems altruistic and well intentioned from our side, makes our team member feel victimized. They feel like they aren't good enough, and not able to do the job without our support.

And we know that's not true, because that's not why we selected them, we picked them for a reason. Because we know they're capable of doing that job. So I mean, a big thing from this is, yes, have that support, but make sure that they have ownership of it, they aren't victimized. They know that we aren't disconnected, and they can lean on us and the rescue of the team when needed, but it requires their prompting and open that door.

And it's also very likely that they feel intimidated knowing we're looking over their shoulders, because they know that we've had this role for some time that we know all the processes, we probably created them. And it's super uncomfortable knowing that we're looking over them.

So in my own area, I'm in a tier two level in customer service, where my team member asked me questions when they can't figure something out, or they need help because I didn't have an SOP, or I didn't do properly on my end, when it was May was an edge issue or something that required a little more knowledge of how the stuff is built in the CRM from an institutional perspective.

And so I'm able to jump in. And to be honest, sometimes I do struggle to prevent myself from jumping in, I'm getting better. But it's the knowledge that I can't, because I'm sabotaging my team member. That's what's keeping me honest, it's knowing upfront that this is what I'm conveying, if I jump in, because I respect my team members too much to do this.

And I want to see them have big roles in our company. So instead, I've adopted really just practically two different strategies that I'm employing. The first is just a proactive engagement with we're having a heavy promotional weekend where I know extra support will be needed.

And I want to give them a day off, I'll communicate that ahead of time that I'll be helping out during the promotional period. And part of the framing is that I know that they need their days off. And so I'm jumping in so they can feel the ability to take that day off. But again, I'm pre framing it, letting them know it's for this promotional period.

I know they're going to be here or they're taking the day off or they're it's a Sunday, and I'm here to help cover them cover for them. So that's the second and this. So the other strategy is is more reactive, and it's more to market conditions. So I know when we're going to need more support based on our sales volume, I know when certain parts of the business are going to heat up.

I'm actively track tracking this on a weekly basis. So promotions and other major marketing moves have a direct impact on that role and other roles within our company. So I can pretty accurately predict when demand for different support functions of our company are going to be high. So I'll lead with that. And I'll reach out to the team member letting them know that we're having a really good week or this promotion has really taken off and that I'm available if they need me to jump in.

I'm asking permission to help the ball is in their courts. So if you've hired well if you follow a very good hiring process you will hire well. You'll find those A players you'll find people that that you sync with that you're on the same wavelength with you know, that's all a good thing.

You're going to find your A players. Here's thinking Know about a player's and look in the mirror, your A players will take ownership and they will refuse your help most of the time. Sound familiar? That's healthy, that's healthy, you should encourage them to have that ownership. And take the time to debrief later on use your scheduled one to one times to work through those areas.

All told, when you offload a task, off, load the task get out of there, peeking in and even jumping in only elongate the time to complete the offload process. And could potentially completely destroy the process that you put in place. Trust the process, but also trust the person, support them from a distance, let them make the calls and be in a supporting function alone.

Don't be an action mode, you got to turn off that that high D that's in so many of us when we are in offload mode. Alright, so this is a very important episode. Very important and hard thing to do for most of us, which is to no longer be doing certain tasks. But take it to heart. And think about the times that you've been handed those roles and how it would make you feel if you were being treated that way.

So if at the end, if nothing else saves you from doing it, know how that would make you feel. And keep the big picture in mind. Know what you have for your team and what you're trying to build work towards that objective. And if it means you got to pile a bunch of stuff off your onto your desk, so you're so busy, you can't even think about it anymore. That's another valid strategy.

So do not sabotage your team members, trust them, build the process and offload it as quickly as you can. With that, that brings us to the end of this episode. Hit us up at WWW dot Adam liette.com. Also, when you're listening to this show, take the time go into iTunes and do give us a review. Always appreciate it. Starting to see a couple trickle in. So that's remarkable to see. Until next time, I'm Adam Liette from smooth operator and I will see you then.

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