How to scale

Congratulations, you made it to the executive ranks. What now? Should your day to day change? Is it only about delegation from here on out — bankers hours here we come? 😃

Nope

Shit just got real. You now have to scale. If you are wondering, what kinda consulting jargon are you throwing at me — wtf does scale mean? Here are some tips that may help.

Only rule of executive club is that there are no more excuses. The buck stops with you. You own a function and the final output and outcome of the business unit is pinned to you. You are the leader of a team and now its your job to ensure that you motivate/measure/plod/cajole/donuts them to deliver.

Frameworks are your friend

How do I prioritize what I need to do?

It is very easy to get bogged down on the tactical and just focus on the tasks that you can directly do and control. However the key lever for you is to help other members of your team perform. To that end you need a framework to help you contextualize things. A framework that I follow (I completely made this up) is the People (P), Strategy (S) and Tactical(T) i.e. the PST framework.

  • People are the most important things that you need to focus on. Your company’s future and your future depends on them. If your people aren’t motivated and are working at the best of their ability — you are going to fail.
  • Strategy. As an executive you are empowered to make decisions that affect the long term trajectory of your organization. You need to spend a good chunk of your time on strategic items. This requires deep thinking and you have to schedule time for it.
  • Tactical are all those things that you used to do previously, which now have to staffed out to your team. This isn’t a license for you to dump all tasks onto someone on your team, rather take this as an opportunity to pair tasks with your direct reports that will help them grow and build their skills. The strategy here is to provide the opportunities for your direct reports to start scaling and start doing higher level tasks.

Figure our your productivity workflow

How do I get more done?

Clearly structured goals that are written down are your friend. Start writing down your goals, what you want to accomplish this quarter? Break them down into monthly deliverables.

Start religiously keeping a todo list. Pen and paper, online doesn’t matter- start writing stuff down.

Managing your schedule

When?

Paul graham from YC has the best post on this topic. You need to map out days you are going to be following a maker vs a manager schedule. A strategy that has worked for me is to loosely schedule:

  • One day a week as people day. I stack all my 1x1’s and people thinking for that day.
  • One day a week as communication/tactical day. Time-box communication and tactical items to this day.
  • Two days — Block the morning time (before lunch) for strategic items. On these days — move all meetings to post lunch.
  • One day — fully blocked (with maybe 1 or 2 short meetings) for focused strategic thinking
  • Everyday : Schedule a 15 min walk at around 2 PM with a trusted peer. Re-energize and truly connect with your peer execs.

Putting it all together

How do I put all of this in practice?

You have to systemize this process and make it routine. A good process to follow is to prep every night for about 30 minutes on what you need to get done today. Write down this list in your tool of choice. Is there a good mix of P, S and T tasks? Are you correctly delegating the majority of the T tasks to the members of your team? At the end of the week do a retro for 30 minutes to check if you accomplished what you had set out to do each week. At the end of each month — look back to what you did that month and did it track towards your long term goals?

Go forth and scale.