Use the Personal Leverage Exercise to Be Happier and More Productive at Work
Last week, I talked about the inherent danger in having a CEO who sits in more than one role where they are “good enough.”
When that happens, the CEO becomes less effective than they could be at everything they’re doing.
But of course, CEOs aren’t the only team members who suffer from this problem.
There’s a good chance that every employee on your team is underleveraged in some way. They aren’t doing enough of the stuff they’re great at, or they’re doing too much stuff that they’re just okay at (which, yes, means less time for doing the stuff they’re great at).
When your people are optimizing the way they spend their time and effort, it serves them AND the organization. Your team is happier and more productive, and the company sees the benefit in lower turnover, increased profitability, and higher customer satisfaction.
There is a simple tool that can help any individual identify how they’re spending their time—and whether they’re spending that time doing the right things for them and for the company.
It’s called the Personal Leverage Exercise.
What is the Personal Leverage Exercise?
The Personal Leverage Exercise (PLE) is one of my favorite tools in our business operating system, the Growth Method.
This tool does two big things:
- Helps individuals identify the activities that they should ideally spend most of their time doing (what they’re best at)
- Helps companies adjust org structure and shift responsibilities to drive higher performance and keep team members happy
All that from an exercise that takes about 15 minutes.
So grab a sheet of paper, divide it into four quadrants, and walk yourself through a quick PLE to see how well you’re allocating your time and energy.
How to use the Personal Leverage Exercise
Step 1: List out all of your professional tasks, activities, and responsibilities.
You can also include activities you aren’t currently doing but would like to be doing if you wish.
Step 2: After creating the list, put each item into the appropriate quadrant based on your perception of it.
The four quadrants are:
- LOVE = you love doing it; you’re amazing at it
- LIKE = you like doing it; you’re very good at it
- SO-SO = you don’t love it; you’re pretty good at it
- NO WAY = you don’t like it; you’re bad at it
When you’re done, you’ll probably have items in all four categories. Make sure every item gets a home.
Step 3: Analyze your results.
As you might imagine, items in the LOVE category are a home run for you. Keep doing those activities! Those are the areas where you feel most energized and make the biggest contributions.
For many people, items in the LIKE category are also going to stick around, at least for now. It’s difficult to have a job that is 100% in the LOVE category, although it’s something you can aim for over time.
NO WAY activities are the things you’re dying to get off your plate. Find a way to get rid of them as soon as possible. Delegate to another employee or a virtual assistant, automate them with some kind of technology, or rework your job description to exclude those activities. They drain your energy and represent your lowest contributions to the company.
Items in the SO-SO category are the most dangerous. These are the things you do that are…fine. Not good, not awful, just fine. The trouble is that most people do these activities for far longer than they should—and in doing so, miss out on a chance to do something much more meaningful and productive.
Step 4: Decide what to delegate
This step may take some conversation with your leadership team or an employee’s direct manager, but the real gold of this exercise lies in taking action. Try to eliminate as many of the NO WAY activities as quickly as possible, then tackle items in the SO-SO category.
You’re already breathing easier, right?
When to Use the Personal Leverage Exercise
I hope you’ll walk through the PLE after reading this piece, but there are other opportunities to incorporate this tool with your team:
- When you’re updating your Role Map and especially when you’re redefining roles
- When a team member has any friction in their role (underperforming, unhappy, etc.)
- When you’re hiring (with modifications, this tool can help assess a candidate’s overall skill set)
- When you need to figure out what a team member is truly amazing at
From the C-suite all the way to the front lines, a well-leveraged team is a happy, healthy one. What have you decided to stop doing? And perhaps even more importantly - What have you decided to start doing?!? Connect with me on LinkedIn and let me know.
Want support getting yourself out of the NO WAY zone? Our consulting team can help. Contact us to find out how.