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What’s on your ‘don’t do’ list?

 21 March 2022     Donald Cooper 

We all create ‘to do’ lists. Most of us write one out every day. But what we should also look at is creating a ‘don’t do’ list. What are the tasks, projects or responsibilities we continue to do that should be delegated to someone else? These tasks take way too much time and prevent us from doing the work we should be doing, and that we, as a business owner, leader or manager, are being paid to do.

Often, we keep ourselves busy with these easy, comfortable tasks in order not to have time to embrace the less familiar, less comfortable, more complex ‘high-value’ tasks that the business actually needs us to tackle.

A great question is, “What would your paycheck look like if you paid yourself according to the value of the tasks that you spend most of your time on?” Try this little self-analysis survey.

How much time do I spend doing: $20 an hour jobs? $50 an hour jobs? $500 an hour jobs?

A few years ago, one of my failed business coaching clients bragged to me he could do every job in the business better than the people who do that job all day, every day. As soon as I heard that, I knew he was in in big trouble. The one job that he couldn’t do is the one he was paid to do – managing the business.

So, what tasks, projects and responsibilities can you – should you – be delegating to someone else?

In my Biz Tool #B-26 – How to Delegate, Get More Done and Grow Your Team Without Losing Control – I list the ten reasons why business owners, leaders and managers don’t delegate and how to fix it. Click here to download this insightful tool at no charge.

If you have no one talented enough or engaged enough to whom to delegate these tasks, you have a different problem. You have little or no bench strength. You don’t have a talent pipeline and that needs to be fixed. The second Biz Tool I’m offering you is #A-17 – Rate Your Talent Pipeline. Once again, click here to download at no charge.

So, will you take ten minutes to start your ‘don’t do’ list right now? And then, every time you catch yourself doing something that’s not high value for the business, will you add it to the list? And for each of these items will you figure out who could take it on, what coaching and encouragement will they need? Or does this ‘thing’ even need doing by anyone? You’ll be amazed at what you come up with. 

Here's something else to think about:

My quote of the week. Normally these quotes are stuff I make up, but in honour of the people of Ukraine and their extraordinary leader Volodymyr Zelensky, I give you this quote from his 2019 inauguration speech:

“I do not want my picture in your offices. The president is not an icon, an idol or a portrait. Hang your kids’ photos instead and look at them each time you make a decision!”

Religion and market share. Like every other ‘business’ is a market, religion is over-served and under-differentiated. There are about 1,200 Christian denominations in the United States. All have the same brand promise – everlasting life.

An important update on my last column. A long-time fan wrote me recently to say I left out a very important point in my thoughts on The eight types of technology that can transform your business.

I neglected to state the importance of effectively training your team whenever a new technology, system or process is introduced. He stated, “I’ve seen millions spent on technology which, in the end, only hampered productivity.”

Being a retired senior airline pilot, he delivered a specific example. The airline spent a million dollars on a system that alerted the arrival airport when an approaching flight was 30 miles away.  Its purpose was to minimize flights holding short of the gate, burning fuel; minimize delays in having the ground crews meet the flight on time; cut down on crew time;  minimize the frustrations and anguish of passengers with tight connections and improve the overall passenger experience.

When following up on why the system was not working, we discovered the operators had not been told about the reason for, the value of or the importance of the system. They had not been trained in the effective operation of the system and, finally, there was a light bulb burnt out which prevented the use of this new million-dollar equipment.

That’s it for this week. Stay safe! Live brilliantly!


Cocoon by Sealy
Stearns & Foster
This HGO article was written by:
Donald Cooper
Donald Cooper

Donald Cooper has been both a world-class manufacturer and an award-winning retailer. Now, as a business speaker and coach he helps business owners and managers throughout the world to rethink, refocus and re-energize their business to create compelling customer value, clarity of purpose and long-term profitability.


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