“I admit it. I am struggling. I feel like I am trying to ride two horses at the same time. My boss wants me to take on more responsibility, but I still have all this other work to do. He says I need to let go, but I don’t know who to get to help me.” Rachel was moving up in the organization, but needed to identify someone on her staff as an emerging manager to fill in behind.
“Rachel, you say you want this new responsibility?” I waited. Though I knew her head would say yes. “Here is a big fat secret. You will never be able to move up in this organization until you have found someone to take over what you do.
“Everyone thinks you cannot move up until you have learned a new skill, but the real constraint is below. You cannot move up until you have identified a person to take over your current responsibilities. And once you find them, you have to train them and test them.
“One of your biggest responsibilities, as a manager, is to find and build a person as your replacement. And it doesn’t happen in a week. You have to be thinking two or three years to the future.”