Productivity & Time Management

Episode #341 – Stretched Thin: Why It Feels Like There’s Never Enough Of You To Go Around

May 7, 2024

I’m Cherylanne.
I am the trusted advisor ambitious women want in their corner to help them fully embody their potential.
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Today Cherylanne is tackling the question that haunts ambitious women everywhere: Why does it feel like there’s never enough of me to go around?

Get ready to explore the art of orchestrating your life for maximum impact with minimal stress. Learn to master the essential skills of delegating effectively and multiplying your influence without stretching yourself too thin.

It’s time to redefine what it means to “have it all,” so you can elevate your life, both at work and at home.  Tune in now.

Show Highlights:

  • Discover how doing critically differs from orchestrating. 00:01:41
  • The power of embracing “the other” and delegation. 00:02:44
  • Explore the Harvard Business Review’s model for delegation. 00:06:42
  • Learn about capability matching. 00:09:26
  • Delve into the communication superpower of feedback. 00:12:11
  • Time-multiplier accountability vs. responsibility defined. 00:16:27

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Hello, my friends. If you are tuning into today’s episode, clearly this resonates with you—the idea that there’s not enough of you to go around. If I had a dollar for every time I have said that in my own life, like there is just not enough of me to go around or everyone needs a piece of me or everyone needs something at the same time. I think it is the reality of life for so many of us in this life stage who are taking on a lot of things at once, right? You do have a lot to manage. You probably have a career that is demanding and time-consuming and has big responsibilities. You probably have a family. That is also demanding and time-consuming and creates a lot of responsibilities. You are probably trying to take great care of yourself physically, mentally, emotionally, and participate in supporting your community around you, whatever that looks like. And all of that creates a lot of work. And my bet is that much of the work that is being created you are doing instead of orchestrating and leading. Right? Orchestrating, managing, leading, is less so—it’s not zero.

The act of managing, the act of giving direction and being the leader. That’s not zero time, but it is a lot less time than if you were to do every task. It really is a force multiplier. It’s an impact multiplier. It’s a power multiplier, this idea of being able to get results through others. So I’m going to jump straight to the punchline, right? No need to bury the lead here. If you want to feel like there is enough of you to go around, if you want to have more time, you must learn how to get results through others broadly across many different aspects of your life. This is not contained to one aspect. It crosses all of them. So I want you to picture, get a mental image of like an old-school org chart. You know, the one that has the president or the CEO at the top and then there’s kind of a line that drops down and then runs horizontally, and under that, there’s all the vice presidents, and under that, all the directors, and under that, all the managers, right? That kind of old-school org chart. I want you to ask yourself, if ever in the history of all humankind, there has been a person at the top of an org chart who was asked to do all of the work in the organization. Now, maybe if you are a solopreneur and you are running a one-person show, right? Now you’re like, hey, that’s me.

And I agree that was me at the time that I started my first business where, you know, it’s kind of me, myself, and I, and with my laptop doing all the jobs on what would eventually become an org chart. However, in most organizations, we would never design it that way. And when we looked at the org chart, we wouldn’t say to the person at the top, hey, it’s your job to do all of the work that these people cook up, every idea that they have, every project that the company or the organization wants to execute. You’re going to have all the tasks. Is that cool with you? Because that person would never take that job. And so, this is, in fact, the dynamic that we put ourselves in in so much of our lives. We forget that it is not necessarily our responsibility to execute all of the tasks personally. Instead, we need to oversee and make sure that they get done. This one big shift, this shift from doing everything yourself or feeling like you have to, to knowing how to get results through others with competence and confidence, is a game-changer. And honestly, this is how you have it all, whatever all means to you, without doing it all. I can’t tell you what all is for you because it’s personal around here. You’ve heard me say that we’re redefining what it means to have it all, and the redefinition is into whatever it is for you.

And it is certainly also about stripping away this expectation of ourselves that we will do all of the associated work with the elements that we want to have in our lives. We want to have families. We want to have a thriving sense of personal well-being. We want to have careers that are meaningful where we make an impact. We want to play big in our communities. But we’re redefining that having all of that in our lives does not mean that we have to do every blessed task ourselves. In fact, your definition of all can be bigger when you release yourself from the expectation that you will do everything solo. Okay, so sometimes when we push to extreme examples like that CEO of a Fortune 500 company, it’s easier to see the point. We would never expect the CEO of a Fortune 500 company to do all the things. I used to work for P&G. I was there for 15 years, Procter and Gamble. It would have been absurd to imagine the CEO doing the work of all of the teams and departments and functions in that company. However, the CEO was accountable for results, right? Not personally responsible for doing the work but accountable for the results. It’s kind of the “the buck stops here” idea. And this is true for you too, right? In fact, not only can you delegate the responsibility that is for sure delegatable, you can even share the accountability. You can even.

You know, impress accountability into the people that you are going to be working with to deliver those results. So the key is to get more comfortable getting results through others. You might need to build some skill in how to actually delegate work. And I had a lot of different ideas kind of running through my mind, and I did a little homework in Harvard Business Review, who really put out a really clear model on what are a few ideas that you can reapply that would even work. I think if you were asking your children or your partner to take responsibility for some of the work that you’ve been doing at home, it definitely works in the workplace. Okay, and so the Harvard Business Review named five things to be clear about if you are going to try to get results through others. I’m going to share them with you. The first is clear expectations. Okay. Clear expectations. This is something I talk about a lot. If you can be crystal clear about the outcome you’re looking for, how you’re going to measure success, how people should go about, you know, getting to the objective, this goes such a long way in getting. People that you’re delegating to, to do it “quote-unquote” right? They’re going to do it to your standard if they understand the expectation. Brené Brown talks about this as “painting done” and she tells the story so beautifully. I don’t want to risk retelling it incorrectly here. Go Google Brené Brown “painting done,” I’m sure you’ll find it.

But she tells a great story that, in grossly oversimplified terms, is that she learned the hard way that she was giving insufficient direction to her team and what was coming back to her was not what she had in her mind, right? She had a picture in her mind but she hadn’t painted that picture for her team. Setting clear expectations of what success looked like. And because of that, they were doing a lot of work dutifully, right? Happily doing the work but it was not producing the result. I have experiences with my kids. You know, you say to your kid, “clean your room,” but you don’t explain what it looks like, what is the end result we’re going for here? And they come to you, walk by the room and you’re like, this is a train wreck, and they come to you and say, “but I did clean my room,” right? That is a great illustration of mismatched expectations. We haven’t been clear enough about what the end result looks like. So, it is really important to have an expectation-setting discussion if we are going to give a piece of work to someone else to do and we are still going to maintain accountability for the end result. The second thing is clear capability, right? Matching the task that we are asking someone to do with their skill level. Let’s go back to the child cleaning their room. If you have a 3-year-old, it would have to be a pretty advanced 3-year-old who could execute all the tasks associated with cleaning their room, right? You may not even want that 3-year-old to touch certain cleaning products. They may not even be able to reach the hangers in the closet.

So, in that example, that child would not have the capability to do the task. This happens in work teams all the time. We say, oh, I don’t have anybody I can give this to so I’ll do it myself, but knowing that you can match the task to clear capability, you know if the person doesn’t already know how to do it if they don’t have the skill can they build that skill, right? Can they be trained? What’s the plan for that and if not you have to think about whether I can give this to someone else because matching capability to the thing we are asking someone to do is very important. The third thing that is important if we are going to get results through others is clear measurement. Some way of tracking is progressing according to plan, right? Are we getting there and sometimes. We get to a place where we thought everything was on track and we get caught by surprise and I think that the evidence of this is you know if you don’t know when the deadlines are if you don’t know what the milestones look like in the task then you can end up being surprised that it didn’t happen. So I know in a lot of families which is where some of this is going to take place your training ground your playground for this is going to be in your family as much as it’s in your workplace one of the dynamics that I hear a lot is you know my spouse or my partner doesn’t like to be nagged and you might be sitting there now just head nodding along like amen right.

This is a very common dynamic where one person is sort of in charge of the master plan and someone else in the relationship is helping to execute some of the tasks they’re participating and executing. But if there is not a clear accountability and measurement around when things will be done by. What are the deadlines or due dates for certain pieces of the work? Um, and that person is saying oh my gosh stop asking me for updates I don’t want to be nagged. We can end up in a situation where we stop delegating right? We’re like you know what? this isn’t worth the friction. Or were they really frustrated because they didn’t know that you meant this needed to be done tonight. So some kind of clear measurement around timelines and what is the schedule. What are we sort of working toward here together? Super important the next one is clear feedback. Um. I always think about how we had a really wonderful couple who cleaned our home for years and years and they’ve since retired from doing that but they were just an absolute delight and one of the things that they were so open to were clear conversations about feedback. There was something and and they came to me and initiated that conversation early on in the relationship you know hey we’re going to do this the way we think it should be done if there’s something that doesn’t work for you that you don’t like maybe it’s the smell of a certain cleaning product or maybe it’s the way we put the pillows back on the couch or whatever Just let us know.

We’re going to stay really open to feedback because we want you to be happy. So think about how often we’re quietly frustrated with the quality level of someone’s work again could be somebody on our team in our workplace. It could be somebody in our home, it could be someone you sit with. On serving and nonprofit with but we sort of are seething quietly afraid to say hey this did not This is not what I meant this did not meet the standard that I thought we were headed for right? This is um I don’t like how you’re going about doing this or the result isn’t where we need it to be. So having clear feedback honestly frequently? um, positive and constructive. I think they both matter a huge enabler to getting a cycle of being able to share the workload with a broader group of people right? We have to be in a cycle of feedback. Very important that we’re clear about it, that we don’t dance around so the person doesn’t even understand what we’re saying and also that we’re kind in delivering it. I think that goes without saying and then the last one has clear consequences. So this one I had to chew on a little bit but the idea was listen if you have been clear. On everything else if you have been clear about your expectations If you have been clear about matching their capability to the task that’s being asked of them if you’ve set up a clear measurement system and everyone has visibility and if you’ve been giving clear feedback Then? What do you do when it doesn’t work out?

Right? Or What do you do at the end of the task to decide if this is worth doing again and there are 3 options you can repeat reward or release right? You can repeat it like hey this is somebody who can do this now repeatedly. You can reward them for doing it like I’m so delighted that you did this so well I’m actually going to give you a reward or you can release meaning I am not going to ask you to do this Again. You are not a great fit. Your assessment is that they are not a great fit for that particular task doesn’t. Necessarily means the person has to get fired from their whole job but they may not be asked to do that thing again if you don’t think they can build the Capability. So I think this one plays out at home as well. It’s like. We’ve all seen the memes of you know you ask the child to do the dishes and they purposefully do a terrible job. Maybe they break a couple, they put them away in the wrong place in the hopes that you’ll say oh my gosh you’re terrible at this. I’m never asking you to do that again and then they actually get their way right? I think we’ve all. Probably seen some version of that meme but it is important that we execute those consequences if we want to stay in a habit and a cycle of handing work off. This is so important to me. Um, in our Household. It’s been so important to me in my team.

Now at Brilliant Balance and back on the teams that I led at Procter and Gamble really matching. Um, I think if I think back across these 5 really trying to be very clear about expectations right? What does success look like, what are we aiming for here and what are we trying to accomplish even in this meeting? And then that matching of capability to the task I don’t like to be frustrated any more than you do right? I am not interested in setting someone up for failure. I don’t want them to feel like they’re, you know, inadequate, so matching that capability is something that I think I’ve been particularly mindful of. I am not afraid of a direct conversation in most cases. So personally I think that the idea of clear feedback on what’s working and not working sometimes gets a little trippy but that’s one that I think has been really really important over time because that is your course correction mechanism. Right? If you constantly are feeling like there is not enough of you to go around my premise here is that the root cause of that is probably that you are doing you are in the doer role in too many areas of your life and what I’m encouraging you to do is trade the responsibility of. Doing for the accountability of getting results through others. It sounds like a subtle shift. Those 2 words are responsibility and accountability. You might even think they’re synonyms but they’re not right. The person who’s responsible is the person who will be doing the task.

The person who is accountable is on the hook for the outcome. So Sometimes you can delegate. I said this earlier about accountability right? Not only are you doing it but you are in charge of the quality of the outcome. But ultimately in so many systems if you are the master planner in your household and so many of my listeners the accountability is going to be yours and so this ability to give clear direction matches the capability to get people feedback so that they can do more. On Behalf of the systems. You’re a part of at home and at work a massive time multiplier. Okay, and I’ll just add this if you find yourself feeling resistant when you go to do this like you listen to this episode. You’re like I got it. I’m going to go out here and put this into practice. I’m going to give this a shot. And it’s time to ask someone to take on work that you have historically been doing if you feel a wall of resistance rise up and you’re like you know what? forget it I want you to pay attention to that and you may need some support. You might need some coaching to push past. That emotional resistance or at least figure out what’s at the root of it that this whole idea brings up and I’m happy to help if I can if that wall is coming up for you to hit me up and I will do whatever I can to support you. Um, this is a really big deal. So again, if you’ve been wondering and wondering why there is never enough of me to go around.

Let’s poke around in this territory of being responsible versus accountable doing versus orchestrating and see if we can get you some time back that you can use for whatever lights you up. That’s all for today. My friends till next time. Let’s be brilliant.

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