The Curse of Competence
I met an amazing woman a few months ago. Her name is Susan and she is not only smart and ambitious, but well-educated, insightful and good at an enormous number of things.
In any given day she can defend herself successfully in court during an unemployment dispute, drive and operate a bucket truck, route the edges on a product to be delivered, make numerous sales, deal with an employee who showed up drunk, hire a new salesperson, mow the grass in front of the building, do her own payroll and visit several client sites.
And that is why her business is struggling.
Susan has fallen victim to the curse of competence.
Victims of the curse of competence tend to take on too many projects (because they can do them), dislike delegating tasks (because no one else will do it as well they can), and wear themselves out by never saying no.
In the long run, the outcome of the curse of competence is mediocrity. One person, running the show, doing many things in a satisfactory but not exceptional, fashion.
In small business, it has even become a fad to brag about how many things one does and how tired one is. Ever heard someone say he was chief cook and bottle washer with a sense of pride in his voice?
The challenge for most people who can do many things is letting go of most of the things they CAN do and focusing exclusively on things they SHOULD do. They are so busy doing everything because they are competent, that they never get around to doing the important things.
Sadly, there is a simple cure for the curse of competence, yet few take steps to acquire it.
If you are suffering from the curse, grab something to write on and make a list of the three things that you can do that no one else in your company can. Confine those three things to the highest profit-generating items you can think of.
Once you have those things in place, put them at the top of each day’s to do list and complete them before you touch anything else (even opening email!). When you have done the highest value things in your day, you are free to tackle all those other things that make you feel useful.
Most likely, though, you’ll discover that doing those high-value tasks will generate enough profit that you can gradually hire, part-time at least, other people who are great at the things you are only competent at.
Imagine, more profit and more time to enjoy it. What a concept!
If you’d like to learn to delegate and still get everything done on time and on budget, check out the one-page blueprint.