Effective Delegation and the Product CEO Paradox

I’m in the mood for covering another great post by Ben (I promise to not have three in a row). This time it’s:

The Product CEO Paradox

Which Ben succinctly describes as: “The only thing that will wreck a company faster than the product CEO being highly engaged in the product is the product CEO disengaging from the product”

The challenge here, as Ben puts it: ” You must transition from your intimately involved motion to a process that enables you to make your contribution without disempowering your team or driving them bananas.”

He prescribes 4 key activities that CEOs much continue to maintain:

  1. Keep and drive the product vision
  2. Maintain the quality standard
  3. Be the integrator
  4. Make people consider the data that they don’t have

And 3 supporting tactics:

  1. Write it, don’t say it
  2. Formalize and attend product reviews
  3. Don’t communicate direction outside of your formal mechanisms

Now here’s the interesting thing: into those key activities and supporting tactics the word CEO is never mentioned, and the word product is only mentioned twice.

That’s because Ben’s advice is applicable in a much broader scope than the product CEO paradox – it’s phenomenal guidance in any delegation situation.

The general version of this paradox is: The only thing that will wreck a business function faster than its leader being highly engaged in its function (read: micro-managing), is the leader disengaging from the function”. 

Replace “product” with the business function that you’re responsible for, and you have Ben’s recipe tailored to your specific  use case.

Sounds easy? It’s not! Can’t say that I have it fully nailed down in my business function.

Any other effective delegation advice that you can share?

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Effective Delegation and the Product CEO Paradox

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