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The Bottleneck is Always at the Top of the Bottle

Written by Clark Neuhoff on December 18, 2017

EOS Organization Leadership Delegate

Bottleneck, logjam, impasse, run aground – there are lots of ways to say that things are not moving forward you’re stuck. We’ve all been there, and once you realize it’s happened, you immediately start looking for ways to get UN-stuck.

While there are many ways that organizations get stuck, it is often the result of an organization outgrowing whatever systems, resources, or people that brought them to where they are. Implementing EOS® helps you gain traction so you can begin moving forward again, allowing you to get what you want from your business.

At a recent gathering of the EOS Implementer Community™ one of my fellow Implementers shared this quote that may help you figure out where to start:

“Have you ever noticed that the bottleneck is always at the top of the bottle?”

Delegating To Your Unique Ability

Entrepreneurs have very special talents that enable them to create new businesses and opportunities. But at some point, entrepreneurs realize that they need to bring in some help and an organization is born. As you add new people to the company, you must learn to delegate. You must be able to hand off certain functions to others so that you can re-focus back to what you do best what Dan Sullivan calls your Unique Ability®.

Unfortunately, leaders frequently try to hold on to too much and have trouble “letting go of the vine”. In other words, we become the bottleneck. We all reach a point where we just can’t do it all.

The bottleneck is at the top.

There are lots of reasons we leaders do this, and some even sound noble:

“I wouldn’t ask my people to do anything that I wouldn’t do.”

“It takes too long to train them. It’s quicker to just do it myself.”

In How To Be A Great Boss, Gino Wickman and René Boer explain a simple yet powerful EOS tool called Delegate and Elevate™. Here’s how it works:

  1. First track everything you do over the next week or two.
  2. Then place each task in one of four quadrants: Love to do / Great at; Like to do / Good at; Don’t like / but Good at; Don’t like / Not Good at.
  3. Now look at the last two quadrants and begin to delegate things you don’t like and aren’t good at.

The idea is that you want to spend as much time as possible in the first two quadrants. These tasks give you energy and don’t feel like work. If you’re spending too much time in the bottom two quadrants, your energy will be drained, and you’ll feel like you worked 10 hours for every one hour you spend on these tasks.

The good news is that the tasks in your bottom two quadrants are usually in the top two quadrants for someone else on your team. If you delegate your tasks to someone else who loves them, everyone will be happier! You will be amazed and your team will thank you. Productivity will go up, people will learn new skills, and things will get flowing again.

Next Steps

This post originally appeared on the Traction Process Blog on October 10, 2017.


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