How to Scale – Axe vs Add

[ New Distinctions for Entrepreneurs – Part 8 of 12 ]

Sometimes I’ll send a razor sharp axe to my Creative Partners. It’s a striking object to receive in the mail. The first time was to a partner who owned a re-growth pine forest. The reality that the axe was used to chop the trees down to sell and to make space for new trees to grow was the perfect metaphor for his own life.

When I send partners an axe, it is because I want to make a point about the power of axing things from their schedule and task list.

Recently I was speaking with the Director of a well-known national non-profit about scaling his organisation. He is a great leader and great at empowering people to take on work, but at the same time he always holds on to a little bit of their work – not because he doesn’t trust them, but because he wants to take care of and support them. As the organisation grows though, he gets more and more bogged down hanging onto helping everyone out. He has less time available than anyone else in the organisation, but to really lead their growth he needs to have more time available than everyone.

The only way for him to explode the glass ceiling he has created for himself is to take an axe to all of the things he is already doing. We spoke about what fears he had in doing that and created some new and powerful personal distinctions that had him excited to delegate more of his work instead of fear it.

As he wields his axe, he creates the space for his growth into new kinds of actions and he creates the possibility for his leadership to grow.

What if the next step to growing your organisation was not to add more stuff to your to-do list and calendar, but to axe stuff from it?

What might that look like? Simply removing it? Delegating it?

What would you do with the space you create?