Do You Have a ‘Who’ Problem?

The other day, an overseas client and I were talking about a problem in the business.

When we started dropping down from a CEO level to an executive level, to a manager level, in our thinking and troubleshooting, we had to stop.

I realized that we were doing someone else’s job. Digging in deeply to try to solve operational or systems issues isn’t a CEOs job.

So, we didn’t have a ‘how’ problem. We had a ‘who’ problem.

The right people in the right seats

Unfortunately, when we don’t have the people doing what they’re supposed to or don’t have the right people in key seats, many CEOs and executives acquire a part time job taking on some of other people’s responsibilities.

And that’s a problem.

When you do someone else’s job, you insulate them from learning experiences and stretching their capabilities through the value of failure, and rob them of accountability and potential for their own growth.

I talk about this in Stop Being Chief Problem Solver in chapter 12 of Your Oxygen Mask First.

Solve the right problem

Back to my conversation last week. When we realized what we were doing, we started a different conversation with a different problem to solve.

Instead of trying to solve the issues, we had to find the right who: a very experienced executive or consultant who could bring the thinking of the person we did have, to the right level.

CEOs are not masters of everything. Our job is to recognize the problem and find someone to solve it or help the person in the role to thrive. 

The Challenge 

    • Thinking about your world, where might you be unintentionally taking on part time jobs, trying to help people on your team to do theirs?
    • Where do you need to change your “how” question to a “who” question?

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