My wife Alix and I recently made some updates to our bedroom. Alix wanted a bold new color scheme; I wanted a new color. Anything would have been an improvement! As we started visualizing the end result and the steps to achieve it, I learned something new about my wife. She had not painted—ever!
Before we could paint, we had to fill in tiny nail holes and patch some large openings in the drywall. Our timeline was short, only a couple of days, and I knew it would be difficult to complete alone. Alix wanted to help, so I started by having her watch me patch a drywall hole, and then I helped her patch a hole. By the third hole, she was doing it all by herself. Proud hubby moment! Then I repeated the process with painting. She handled the paint like a pro, and we completed the project with time to spare.
As I reflected on our project, I realized it followed a key roadmap that all leaders can use to multiply their efforts and accomplish more in less time:
- I showed her the way. Alix watched as I demonstrated how to patch drywall. She learned the way.
- I helped her along with way. Alix did a drywall repair with me by her side, providing guidance and support. She tried the way.
- She went the way. Alix patched a drywall hole by herself. She went the way.
I did not need Alix’s help. I could have completed the project by myself, maybe even on time if I worked harder and longer, but by taking a few minutes to show her how to do the task, she was able to double my efforts. Alone I can only produce one unit of work—with her, my output was multiplied by two. Together we accomplished far more, in a shorter period of time, than I could have alone.
Every leader I know is busy. I know I am busy, and I bet you are too. You can use this same process with your own team to multiply your efforts:
- Show them the way
- Help them try the way
- Send them on the way
Think about all the things you need to accomplish as a leader. What can you do today with your team to multiply your efforts tomorrow?