Managerial Leverage and why you should know this concept
I picked this up reading "High Output Management" by former Intel CEO Andy Grove. This book is legendary in Silicon Valley... The foreword is by Ben Horowitz, (co founder of legendary venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz), with praise by Mark Zuckerberg, John Doerr (VC at venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins), Marc Andresseen (Co-Founder of Netscape), and other thought leaders across the hi-tech industry.
What does it mean?
Managerial leverage states that managers make best use of their time, when they spend small amounts of it, on things that have a large impact. In short, they leverage their input by making sure every action creates a disproportional amount of output. (Here is a great brief summary of the book.)
High leverage activities
Brainstorming with people who inspire you, designing solutions, developing pitches, condensing client input into presentations, creating demo videos, writing articles for publications are all examples of high leverage activities. With a one-off investment of time, the output tends to influence more people over a longer period of time.
A new solution can affect the lives of millions of people. A demo video showing a new product can be shared online and seen by many 1000s of people. A concise presentation containing the key take aways of a client meeting, is a great basis for aligning everyone involved. This enables you to move forward as a group and anyone interested can get up to date without having to setup a meeting to go over what has been happening.
All while you focus your energy on the next high leverage activity.
Sharing your knowledge and training others is one of the highest leverage activities a you can perform. Once you share your knowledge, workflows, ideas, concepts etc. you are no longer the bottleneck. You have effectively enabled someone else to take your input and build on it. Ideally they will combine it with their own knowledge and take it further. If this is lived by an entire organization, the effect can be exponential.
The next time you have a couple of pending tasks, start considering which has the highest leverage. Eventually it will become a habit and you will have a much easier time staying focussed on your most valuable, high leverage activities.