You Can’t Do It All

I’ve had a couple rough days sliding between tactical and strategic worries as we work to complete a release while planning ahead for the next one. I just drew this up on a whiteboard to provide some context for my concerns. I was surprised by where it ended up so I’ve decided to spend a few more minutes on it and share it.

20130312-163351.jpg

While the visibility from the top down and from the bottom up is absolutely critical, you can’t really expect to have all that loaded in your head at the same time. This is aggravated by the size of your organization and certainly becomes unmanageable at different points depending on your mental fortitude and your organization’s setup. Most companies address this problem by creating a hierarchy so that those at the top, your C-levels and other executives, worry about those things at the top of the list, and your middle managers take the middle, and so forth all the way down the list. This can work, but I’m an advocate for dynamic approaches that can quickly compensate for different needs at different times. But I digress. My point here is that when it comes down to it, you can’t really do it all, and there are only two things that can make you feel better about that:

  1. Transparency – it should be simple for someone to take a look at a dashboard or a blog or even a posted printout and see how things are going in an area and where things are headed in the future.
  2. Trust – if you can’t trust (often through delegation) those that are heading up areas of the business then you will never be satisfied that things are running well.

I don’t have all the answers here, but I hope that this helps you to reconsider where you’re at like I have, and I’m glad I did because today (two days later) I’m feeling pretty good.