1 min read

Walk and Chew Gum at the Same Time (And how to not juggle in a small business.)

If you have dedicated leadership roles in your company, this already makes sense to you. But if your company is mostly made up of individual contributors (ICs), consultants, or engineers, then you are missing out on an unbelievable amount of untapped brain potential, and growth potential.

We spent the last 14 years not doing this, with decent results. So after 1 year of being more profitable than we've ever been, I can be fairly certain about this one.

This does not mean multitasking

I thought walking and chewing gum at the same time referred to multitasking. And that couldn't be further from the truth. I'd always tried to run the company, and be a great consultant because I thought our success relied on it. But what I've learned is that even when I was leaning more into the leadership-side of the role, I was still being held back from my (our) potential because of the seemingly small (10%-20%) sliver of time doing technical work.

This truth is the same for your leaders/directors/VPs on your team.

They must stop doing the technical work too! Our directors shared that since we made their role 100% director, they were able to complete so much more work, feel less overwhelmed, and built more momentum in their goals than when they were trying to also do technical work.

There's a cognitive load, and break of flow that ocurrs when even 10% of your role is diverted to technical work. Even you know this! Leadership decisions require margin. And I mean margin like time, space, and breathing room. When was the last time (besides Braveheart) when you saw the leader on the front lines 8 hours a day? When was the last time you saw the restaurant owner seating customers, taking orders, or cooking in the kitchen? You haven't, because it can't be done successfully.

So if you're trying to multitask currently, just know that you could be doing better, if you just let go of that technical work. By not letting go of the technical work, you'll continue ending your workday thinking you didn't get enough done. Your work will be half as good compared to being totally focused on leading.

Your team needs you. They need your perspective, they need your ideas, they need your presence. And when you're doing technical work, you can't be there for them.