If you’re like many entrepreneurs, you started your business with a great idea and did everything yourself. You generated sales, delivered your products or services, handled the finances, managed customer service and emptied the wastebaskets. As your business grew, did you fully remove yourself from most of these functions, replacing yourself with a more energetic, competent version of yourself? Did you begin with those things you weren’t good at and didn’t enjoy, or happened to be good at and didn’t enjoy? Did you “let go” once the new person was in place and established their competence?
When you are sitting in more than one seat (EOS term for job function), no matter how competent you are, you can’t serve both roles 100%. Picture yourself attempting to sit on two chairs at the same time. You would feel uncomfortable, shaky, and even with your best efforts, you’d only have one cheek on each seat. Best case scenario with the most competent person alive would be that you’re doing each role half-assed! This metaphor hits home with my clients because it rings true, and most of them are experiencing this as they begin their EOS journey. One leadership team member even declared that he was in three seats and realized he was tired because he was attempting a tri-ass-thlon and absolutely not in shape for it!
Being in multiple seats is an uncomfortable and ineffective place to be. It leaves you and your team overextended and holds the company back while exposing it to greater risk. What can you do if you’re in too many seats? Use the tools below to move every leadership team member to one seat, allowing you to grow your business effectively.
Tool #1: The Accountability Chart. The first step in moving yourself out of multiple seats is to realize you’re in them in the first place. Use the EOS Accountability Chart to map out your organization in it’s simplest, most effective structure looking forward 6-12 months. Then, list the ideal roles and accountabilities for each seat. Once you’ve got the structure “right” for the future, only then do you begin to see who you have to fill each seat. Is anyone’s name in multiple seats? If so, you need to find someone else who is uniquely gifted to occupy that seat over time. This could mean promoting someone, hiring someone and of course, given your 6-12 month timeline, it has to work with your budget and overall plan.
A common problem most entrepreneurial organizations face is that they adjust the business structure around their people as opposed to creating the best structure for the health of the company first and adding people second. A good way to determine this is to remove names from the Accountability Chart and give it a hard look. Ask yourself, “is this the best structure for the health of the company?” When our EOS client Antenna did this exercise, they realized they had multiple people doing pieces of a function and were consistently having issues with that function. After reviewing their Accountability Chart, they created a new seat with one person fully accountable for that function. This immediately solved the issue – you can read more about their journey in our Client Highlight. Determining clear accountabilities for each seat will show you clearly where you are half-assing it, and therefore what to promote, delegate, or hire for.
Tool #2: Delegate and Elevate. After you’ve identified the seats and accountabilities, you may be able to simply delegate some of the accountabilities to another person within the organization. This could mean dividing the roles and adding them to other, current seats. If you are working 120% while functioning in two or more seats, you must find a way to delegate 20% so over time you can give one seat 100% of your attention. The reality is that if you are in multiple seats you are doing a half-assed job and holding the company back. Delegate and elevate the tasks you don’t like and happen to be good at or don’t like and are not good at, elevating yourself into one seat filled with roles you love and are great at. These should be roles that are your highest and best use in the organization. When your entire leadership team does this, you are elevating yourselves and doing the work that energizes you. I often ask my teams when they are doing work that is not their highest and best use “would you pay someone else what you make an hour to do that work?” If the answer is “no,” or “no way,” then you must delegate it to someone who would love that task and be great at it. Because we view many of the tasks below the line as an undesirable task, we aren’t comfortable delegating. When you delegate that task to someone who loves it and is great at it, you’ve given them a gift, even though you thought it was an anchor! When every member of your leadership team is accountable for only one seat, you will experience the momentum to take your company to the next level. If you don’t feel comfortable delegating your roles, that is a larger issue and best addressed by the GWC tool.
Tool #3: GWC. GWC stands for “Get It, Want It, Capacity to Do It” and is the way we determine if someone is fully capable of fulfilling a seat. If you are uncomfortable delegating roles to someone, we address that with GWC. Ask yourself these three questions. Does the person Get It?; meaning their DNA or hard wiring as a human being is ideal for this seat? (example: you wouldn’t put a sales person in a finance role and vice versa.) Do they Want It? Be honest here- you wanting it for them is not enough. You shouldn’t have to remind, threaten or beg them to want to do the job. Then finally ask do they have the Capacity to do the job?; meaning do they have the skills, expertise and time required for the job? You can’t confidently delegate or promote someone unless you get three “YESS!” answers to GWC. Answering “no” to any of the three questions means that person is in the wrong seat and you won’t be comfortable delegating, let alone having that person accountable for that seat. In this case, your options are to find them another seat – provided you have one they GWC, or move them out of the company.
As your company grows, it’s important that your structure grows with it. Although you started your company from the ground up and previously filled many seats, that’s no longer an option. Most companies revisit the Accountability Chart every year or two as they grow. It’s the best way to see where you’re constrained and exactly who or what’s holding your company back. Once you have clarity, you can delegate or hire for the seats you need to until each person occupies only one seat. Remember, your company will grow, discomfort will be gone, you’ll perform better and spend time doing the things you love and are great at. Isn’t that what it’s all about?