When Hiring an Expert Fails and a Wearer of Many Hats Wins

It makes perfect sense: You hire an expert that’s been there and done that. And they deliver on goals, with a thunderous slam dunk.

For example, if you’re sporting the Hubspot platform, you’re going to hire a Marketer that’s familiar with HubSpot to save lots of time and get things moving, pronto.

Not so fast. Here’s why.

Experts tend to refer to previous experiences and go with whatever worked in the past, looking to repeat that experience again and again. Even worse, some experts may view new methodology or technology as a threat to their expertise and their ability to anticipate future trends, and deliver on specific goals. They tend to “stamp out” the fresh ideas and seek shelter with what has worked in the past.

Yikes. That doesn’t sound too good, does it?

In the last four years, we’ve had four different software platforms managing projects, tasks and all the to-do’s that propel our business and staff, ranging from Base Camp to Google Docs to our own Task List Calendar software we built years ago.

Not surprisingly, we had 4 different managers/experts leading the education and transformation with these productivity tools, with each transition consuming lots of time for staff to learn the new methods and process.

That’s where Mark Hurst comes in, with a book called Bit Literacy written in 2007.

He suggests companies create their own simple system or software to help parse out the tasks you don’t have time to complete each day, and store them as future tasks. Each day, you then select the priority tasks from the future lists that are piled up to complete that day.

As it turns out, all these tasks coming at us daily make us feel overwhelmed, unproductive, and even depressed. But by completing just the tasks you assign yourself, all that changes and you feel on top of the world and in control of your work life.

Small businesses create, by nature, the opportunity for staff members to “wear many hats” in the work environment. Our job descriptions at WriterAccess used to actually state just that for prospect employees, which I think attracted the right kind of talent with project-flex built in.

But wearing many hats can wear out staff members, if you’re not careful.

To avoid the burn out, here’s Mark’s suggests you assess each task and determine if it can be completed in 2 minutes or less. If so, just crank it out. If not, drop it on the Future Task List.

Here’s what our home baked TASK LIST CALENDAR (TLC) looks like at WriterAccess.

You can move the priorities around, open each task up and learn the details, drop in estimates of how long it will take to complete the task, and basically keep track of what you complete each day.

My favorite part of our TLC is that you can send tasks to yourself, and to fellow employees, super fast, by either creating a new task and dragging it to that employee. Or emailing the task to employees or yourself.

The TLC was without a doubt a big part of our success from 2010 to about 2014, helping us grow 30 to 50% per year, with only a handful of staff. By 2015, we had new managers onboard and new systems that they had used in other companies, and lost site of the impact of the more holistic methodology and technology for “where many hats” employees and businesses.

But in the end, it’s not a task list that makes a great company, it’s great employees and talent.

WE ARE SO LUCKY TO CHECK THAT OFF THE TASK LIST, as we have amazing employees.

Do be careful and proceed with caution when prescribing a software or methodology or goal for employees or managers.

How do you organize your day, week, month or year? What’s your favorite productivity management tool?

I look forward to learning how you make greatness happen.


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