I taught Oskar how to mow the lawn this summer. Again. I had tried last year, and we couldn’t get it right. My emotions got in the way, and the need for straight lines muddled the fact that it probably didn’t matter much.
He’s doing great this year, and I’ve learned to relax about the criss-cross patterns I so desperately crave. He’s doing just fine and learning the ins and outs of mowing, flower bed navigation, and what to do when he runs out of fuel.
As a bonus, I have time to weed and trim trees and bushes, and we spend an hour together outside. He checks in with me, and I check in with him. Halfway through, we stop for drinks in the shade of the garage.
He’s at 80% of what I would do. So I let it go.
Over the last few years at work, I’ve learned to let go, too. I’ve started to let go of departments that I’ve either built back up from the ground or managed for a while, and now, with people I’ve developed in the driving seats, I let them do their thing. If they’re at 80% or more…
This idea isn’t mine, but I like it, and it works. Jocko, former Navy Seal and successful waker-upper at 4:30 AM shared this idea in one of his books I crushed a few years ago.
If your team can perform at 80% of what you would do, let them go, and let them perform. They’ll do it their way, with their vision, drive, and flair. Of course, if they’re sliding down to 60%-70%, it’s time to step in to adjust, redirect, lend a hand, or take over. But if not, let them get after it their way.
Last year, Oskar was all over the place. Mowing just wasn’t his flavor. This year, he’s motivated, careful, asks questions, and gets it (mostly) right in the yard.
That’s probably a lot like your team, too. When they’re ready, they’re ready. So let them drive. Or push the mower. Or whatever you do. After all, you have other things to take care of…