Master or disaster

What are you a master at vs what are you disaster at.

Are you strategising and spending critical time trying to do the things you are a disaster at?

For a number of people, self-employed entrepreneurs and various managers, you’ll find that they would often take the DIY approach to their tasks and not hire in expertise (Masters) Who are fully equipped and able to do the job at hand.

In my early years of business I realised that there was typically three approaches to getting the job done.

Do It Yourself

For a number of people, especially self-employed entrepreneurs and team managers, you’ll find that they would often take the “do it yourself” (DIY) approach to their tasks. This way they are guaranteeing control and completion of the task.

This method seems to be cost-effective, especially that you are doing all the jobs yourself and for most startup companies the requirement of the budding entrepreneur is to work hard and long hours and often there is never enough money to hire in extra hands much less experts.

That said, with this approach it is very difficult to set boundaries, especially with regards to the time spent on any particular task, compensating for slippage, suffering poor work-life balance.

Another downfall with the DIY approach (when I was starting up) was that there was only ever one of me and I could have done with at least seven more Mike Kelly’s, I had spread myself too thin multitasking and doing the mundane rather than the important and so priority tasks and difficult were often not completed.

With a DIY approach you can only do the task the way you know how to do it, so I realised that the DIY way was really effective at the tasks I had mastered but not beneficial for the tasks I was a disaster at.


The second option was to mentor, train, and develop or even find apprentices to do the jobs that I did. I often referred to this as homegrown talent. The challenges with this approach were endless, in that, to homegrow talent takes a long time and there was never any guarantee of allegiance or the fact that they are going to grasp the job concept or even be talented enough to perform the task the way you would like them to.

The second biggest risk was that I was duplicating the stuff I done the way I done it. Now that was great for the things that I had mastered, but it was not productive in any way shape or form from for me or my business to duplicate the things I was a disaster at.

This was very restrictive with regards to innovation and compromised the simplicity of possibly doing tasks a better way or a different way and allowing other brilliant minds to bring their initiative to the table.

Whilst I was training and developing staff to duplicate my system, I was not available to do any other tasks, see customers, build my business, so there was other indirect costs associated with duplication.. I couldn’t charge anyone else for my services whilst I was duplicating talent.


The third way to get a job done is to commission, contract or employee masters.
Malcolm Gladwell clearly explains that an expert is someone who has excellently done at least 10,000 hours within their professional industry, on stage, on the sports field etc.

Steve Jobs co-founder of Apple said it does not make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do, we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.

Hiring in experts or masters at the Job task is more expensive per hour or per day but should get the job done quicker. It is a false economy to get people who are willing disasters to perform the task or to try and acquire the knowledge on how to do the task. I found this usually takes longer, requires more people and you still may end up with an inferior accomplishment.

It might sound blasé but you should consider hiring the best for the task and not consider the rest.

Finally my advice would be to give up being a Jack of all trades. Spend more time and focus on the things you’re a master at, they will bring you life satisfaction, improve your sense of wellbeing and purpose and people will respect and regard your mastery.

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