An executive that I sat next to on a plane from PrairieLand Partners / John Deere named Marc shared with me this story about the 30x rule:
A professor in one of my business classes taught me that “when trying to decide whether to delegate something to someone else or to do something yourself you should use the 30 to 1 rule.”
That is, that if it was a daily task that took a skilled person like yourself five minute to complete, you should plan to spend at least 150 minutes (5 minutes multiplied by 30) instructing the subordinate on how to complete the same task.
Now the 150 minutes shouldn’t all be done at one time and could be spread over a few months as you help the subordinate master the task.”
He then explained the math behind it.
“If a task were to take you personally 5 minutes a day for 250 days in a working year then that means you would spend 1250 minutes per year on that task.
Rather than doing that however, if you decided to spend 150 minutes training someone to do that 5-minute task and they instead did that task for you then that would give you an annual savings of 1100 minutes per year.”
Simple, but brilliant! The process of spreading out the instruction is something that we at Southwestern Consulting™ refer to as “spaced-repetition training” and statistically has a much higher success rate just as he suggests.
The most powerful part of the story though is that although he used the word “spend” all throughout the story I actually think a more appropriate word would be what we referred to in the last few blogs, which was Invest.
In fact, I’ve now been regularly using the acronym “R.O.T.I.” which is short for the phrase “Return On Time Invested.” Because it is an investment and it has a tangible, calculable return on that investment.
Using the example above, if you take the 1100 minutes saved and you divide that by the 150 minutes invested in training, then you would get a 733% Return on Time Invested in 1 year!
That investment is a no-brainer! Not to mention, I can’t imagine a scenario where it would actually take you 2.5 hours to teach someone how to do a task that takes 5 minutes!
But yet, most of us live in a two-dimensional world of how does this affect me now and we carry around a completely unfounded story that “it would be faster if I did it myself.” Meanwhile, we’re leaving an investment opportunity with a guaranteed minimum of 733% R.O.T.I. on the table!
Although I guess that is the way of the world isn’t it? The rich get richer because they see things that nobody else sees.
PS…this is some of the writing I’m doing right now for my new book Procrastinate on Purpose: Uncovering The 5 Choices of Creating More Time and Multiplying Your Results! – it’s going to be a good one!