Alan Weiss, author of Million Dollar Consulting, advises consultants to drop the bottom 10% of their work every year. That way you have to force yourself to grow and offer new (frequently more lucrative) offerings. The same advice applies to managers.
When I teach management, I explain that managers have three responsibilities:
- To deliver results
- To develop their people (so that the manager and the group can continue to deliver results)
- Improve capacity of their organizations
Yes, it’s true that developing new capacity may feel close to impossible. But it’s just the barrier to entry of being a great manager. Great managers develop their people (winning their trust, building a team). And, great managers realize that when they develop people, they can improve the capacity of their organizations.
That capacity improvement is what allows you (and your group) to drop the bottom 10% of your work. Here’s an example of how I do this as part of my goals for projects. When I work with a project team that doesn’t have a lot of automated testing, I analyze the product and see where automated testing would help. Then I work with the project team to introduce the idea of automated smoke tests or regression tests for that part of the project. We make the tests project goals, not project requirements. We timebox and see how much progress we make. Then we replan, making sure we accomplish the project requirements, not just the goals.
What would you have to do to drop the bottom 10% of your work?