For most of my business life I’ve been the type of person who always wanted to learn how do everything myself.
Even things like network server maintenance. It was so difficult explaining what I wanted or finding someone who could fix it, I just learned it and repaired it myself. I figured it was easier to do it myself than try to find someone else and to communicate what I wanted. It’s made me really good at a lot of tasks. But although I have so many skills, it’s left me lacking in one important way.
I started figuring out that my approach was all wrong about 8 years ago. I had a telephone call with Rory Fatt of Restaurant Marketing Systems. He told me, “I never try to learn how to do something myself. Instead, I find the best person and pay them to implement for me. It’s a lot faster.”
Interesting, I thought. But then, I came up with a whole bunch of reasons why Rory’s way was wrong and my approach of doing everything myself was better. For instance, quality control, independence, investment, the challenge of explaining what you want and a bunch more.
A few months later, I began to discover that Rory is right. Speed of implementation is more important than any of the other “reasons” I had come up with. The world is changing too fast. By the time you or I go through all the work to learn a completely new business, the opportunity may have already passed.
Today, I work with a lot of vendors and partners to help me implement projects and business plans a lot more quickly. I discovered that my problems with communicating what I expect and delegating are skills. And, the reason I was getting so frustrated was because I hadn’t developed those skills. Now I understand that learning how to delegate, communicate expectations and reward success are a lot more important skills than anything as technical as network support or video editing.
For years I told myself I should be self-sufficient. It seemed like a worthy goal. Yet, in today’s world it’s impossible. Our productivity and leverage comes from being part of a group of people working together to achieve more than they could if they were each “self-sufficient.”
Have you found this to be true? What did you insist on doing yourself that you’ve finally let go of? Or do you disagree? Scroll down to the bottom of this page to leave me a comment. I read every comment and reply when appropriate.