Are you working below your pay grade?

In the world of independent business people, there’s a phenomenon known as the “busy fool” where instead of selling, marketing or delivering their services the speaker/coach/trainer/consultant is taking on duties that are not within their skill set. A frequently cited example is where time is spent on record keeping or accounting when that is one of the easiest to outsource.

For me, there a direct comparison to an observation I make in larger businesses.

I often find clients are really busy and don’t have time to think about, let alone implement, some of the improvements we have identified for the business. Sometimes that’s why the business hasn’t moved on in the past few years – the team have reached capacity (or at least the managing director/owner has) and new initiatives are few and far between.

I’m a great believer in analysing the workload that crosses your desk. How much of that are things that you should not be doing – how much of it is things that are “below your pay grade” or if you are an independent, not in your core skill set?

As I have written before, many of these things can be delegated out outsourced, but you have to make the decision to “let go” and I know that many people find that hard.

I don’t – in fact, I once delegated responsibility to someone who didn’t work for me or even work in the same organisation

Another way to think about the tasks that consume your time is to rank them by potential consequences. For each task, ask the question

“What’s the consequence if this doesn’t get done – or done on time?”

You may just find there are some tasks or responsibilities that are making you a busy fool!