A Control Freak’s Guide to Building Systems and Letting Go

by

“When I try to do everything on my own, too little gets done. When I empower those around me, I am surprised by how little goes wrong.”

If you’re reading this, you’re probably a rock star at your University. You’re excited about getting better – learning best practices – building things.

But, odds are you’re a control freak.

And here’s why that’s a bad thing. Because the most incredibly optimized version of yourself can’t
possibly get enough done on your own. Even if you’re a firm believer in the 80/20 rule. Even if you
determine the most valuable and necessary tasks at your University and exclusively focus your energy there.

With your manpower alone, you can only get around 40 hours of this amazing work done in a week.

But what if you created systems instead?

What if instead of personally replying to every comment on your University’s social networking sites – you empower others around you, much closer to the specific questions being asked to interact with? What if rather than re-writing every page of your 2,000 page site, you create a navigation framework and outline based on Web best practices and ask department chairs to help fill in the holes?

Will the results be slightly worse than if you had done everything yourself? No. Because the quantity getting done will be 10-20x what you could have produced on your own.

Sometimes, we work so hard to prove ourselves invaluable to our organization. But if we’re looking to create real value, we set up systems that won’t immediately die upon our departure.

 

Eric Olsen is the Web Content Manger for Lewis University, a mid-sized Catholic and Lasallian University near Chicago, IL.
Follow Eric on Twitter.

From our sponsors:

  • http://joesabado.com Joe Sabado

    Hero mentality, sounds like.

  • http://www.losingcontrolfindingserenity.com/ Danny

    Kudos, Eric, for being willing to let go and trust others to do their thing!
    I’ve been writing about the value of letting go of control for a while in such areas as parenting, love, work, creative endeavors and the like, including a book on the subject, and it’s interesting to learn of your application from a tech point of view.