One of my CEO coaching clients years ago told me: if I work 10% less hard or delegate  10% more often, profits will go down by more than 20%. He now knows the folly of that remark. He has learned to delegate, how to tailor so doing to his comfort with each individual and how to use his team to keep the process on track

He is now on this third business, having grown the first one and sold it, having grown the second one and sold it to a new private equity owner. His objective is now to reduce his engagement in the business to fewer days per week so he can spend more time on boards of other companies and contribute more to his community. No, he is not a senior.


What developed the way he leads?

  • Focus on what is or is not his job (what can only he do?)
  • Training his people to take more responsibility
  • Taking risks of delegation tailored to each person’s stage of development and playing the role of chief (key) people developer as well as CEO
  • Developing a process for everyone to know and review each week the annual goals, this month’s objectives, who is responsible for what and where progress is acceptable or not (starts with a “traffic light” chart).
  • Having his direct reports cascade the approach to the rest of the company

How did he overcome doubts and fears of delegation? He:

  • Wrote down his beliefs and fears about his company and his people
  • Observed that the outcomes were not near as good as he wanted
  • Wrote down the outcomes he desired (results, work ethic, culture,….)
  • He identified his own behaviors that contribute to poor outcomes
  • Reflected on what he had written and asked: what change in my beliefs and fears is needed to change my behaviors and the outcomes?
  • Began experimenting with different approaches to different people
  • Asked his direct reports to do as he did

Delegating frees the leader to lead.

That’s just my view. What’s yours?


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What Made jack welch JACK WELCH

How Ordinary People Become
Extraordinary Leaders

by Stephen H. Baum (Random House)

Most leaders of American companies started out as ordinary people. What prepared them for the top job?

Countless more ordinary people of equal talent never developed the leadership core required to run the show. Why not?

"Lessons for life about the core leadership traits of character, risk taking decisiveness and the ability to engage and inspire followers."
--Jim Clifton, CEO, The Gallup Organization


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