As a business owner, supervisor or manager, do you ever find yourself doing tasks that take your time, yet could be delegated to a competent staff member? Sometimes it seems easier to do it yourself than to take the time to teach another and then follow-up to make sure it was done correctly.
If this sounds like you, you may have developed the habit of Mouse-Milking. The first time that I heard this term was at a seminar and I could not figure out what they possibly could be referring to.
Mouse-Milking refers to a task or project that is a waste of time when measured against your priorities. The task may seem simple, so you just do it, but if you passed it on to someone else you could be working on more important or profitable tasks that you have been hired to do.
As an example, we use to clean our own office. I felt that I should also do my share of the cleaning, even though I was the highest paid employee. I assigned myself the task of cleaning the bathrooms. After attending the seminar and learning about Mouse-Milking, I realized that I could hire someone from the outside for less than what it was costing to have myself and the rest of the staff do the cleaning.
This not only allows myself to attend to business that needed to get done, but also for the staff that was paid at a higher wage than a cleaning person to do more of what they needed to do. That was a smart business move.
There are several ways that we Milk-the-Mouse at work, but here are five common ones:
1. Supervisors or managers doing easy tasks that could be delegated to another.
2. Doing a task too well, overdoing what needs to be done. When good is okay, leave it that way.
3. Taking too long to complete a task. When we do not want to do something that is simple we tend to take more time doing it. Pass it along to a competent staff member.
4. Supervisors or managers doing tasks that keep them from doing tasks with greater priority. Delegate to others.
5. When supervisors or managers opt to do the simpler tasks to keep them from doing a dreaded priority task.
Finding balance for business owners, supervisors and managers can be difficult. Weighing priorities is necessary to keep all employees busy and sharing the tasks that need to be accomplished. Managers use your staff people to balance your work load.
This not only will give staff personnel the opportunity to learn more, but their value will increase with the company. That is a win-win for everyone.