Get More Done – Clone Yourself
Wouldn’t it be great if you could clone yourself? You would get more done. Ideas would take shape because you’d have time to devote to them. More fun would be in your life because, duh… less time working on the menial tasks.
What if Cloning Yourself was a thing? Well, another way to get more done is by training your people well. This may actually be better. Because of the transfer of knowledge and the communication, bonds form. Not to mention the need we all have to fulfill legacy in our lives.
Yes training your people well is better because of that. But what does that mean for you? It’s not all rainbows and butterflies after that. Let’s face it. Training your team to do things well could be a better way, but it is also much harder.
Cloning yourself means letting go of the old work, learning to trust, being ready for failure (the event of), preparing to Coach, and leaning into new things.
Letting Go & Learning to Trust
A few years ago, I was in my annual performance review. Things were going really well until… until we got to the derailment risks. My ratings were above average in most categories and average in others. All pretty normal for most achievers out there. But man… those derailment risks.
My boss at the time had a great way to provide feedback that allowed both the giver and receiver to keep focused. These sore spots were called derailment risks. Not off the tracks yet, but the potential is there if the same behavior continues kind of thing.
“Ryan, you are doing well with your team. One derailment risk I see is that you jump in and do too much of the work.”
His point was valid. Providing the “perfect output” is what I was focused on for my team. It kept me from seeing the ice burgs straight ahead.
I knew I had to make a change. I was a little nervous for several reasons.
The first reason was that letting go of the output meant we could get it wrong. I didn’t want to create a perception of me, my leadership, and my team. (Did you catch it? All that “me” stuff there?)
The second reason was if I let go of the output my team was responsible for, I feared I would have to jump in at the last minute and scramble to “fix” it. Basically, I would have to trust my team. They weren’t ready. (Did you catch that. “They weren’t ready… to be trusted.”)
The third was more subconscious, but very real. Trusting them to do the work meant I had to trust myself to do my work. Which was to look for icebergs. Provide direction. Understand how to adapt to win.
I was focused on doing their jobs better than they could instead of doing my job better than I did it yesterday.
Being Ready For Failure & Ready To Coach
That derailment risk conversation was a pivotal moment in my career. That moment, I saw that accepting a leadership position means accepting failure before it happens.
As a leader, you must accept the failure BEFORE it happens to prevent it. Failure will occur when seeking greatness. Failure is an event and a part of every success. Take stock of the possible outcomes (the icebergs) and work to avoid them.
My derailment risk kept me from thinking strategically. I wasn’t experiencing many failures nor was I growing as a leader to my team. Actually, I was preventing personal growth and stunting the growth of my team. Taking the lead, fixing the problems, and not teaching through the issues was causing my problems. (hurts a little to type that, but it’s true).
Iceberg! Straight Ahead
My issue with letting go, not trusting, and fearing failure kept me from what I really wanted. I wanted to be a great leader. What I was actually doing was focusing my efforts on getting my team to do exactly what I would do in their situation.
Yep. I defined failure then as not completing the work the way I would do the work. But why was I doing that? With hindsight being 20/20 and all, I can clearly see now. I was so afraid to fail, that subconsciously I wanted to stick to what I knew I could do instead of learning how to do well at my new role.
I was afraid. Afraid to fail. I was afraid to let my team fail (learn). Simply put… afraid.
It wasn’t until after this derailment risk conversation that I was able to see my fear for what it was. Not only could I see it, but I could also see how it kept me from achieving what I really wanted. I wanted to be a successful leader. I knew something had to be done to correct this, but what?
Letting go, learning to trust, looking for icebergs, and coaching through failures… that’s what. That’s when I realized that I don’t want to clone myself.
Cloning yourself does NOT make a great team. It makes a team that is afraid to fail. The only legacy you pass on is that fear.
What did I do to get more done?
I stopped jumping in the driver’s seat all the time. I allowed my team to experience the failures with me. We learned together from them and how to avoid them. I focused on looking for icebergs and not solving all of them. Allowing my team to experience the “what if” failure BEFORE it happened began teaching them to think strategically. This helped them be ready for their next step as iceberg hunting leaders instead of trying to clone their own past successes.