Over the past couple of weeks, I have become an expert in tap valves. There are literally thousands of different types. Although they all look the same, I’ve discovered that each has a slightly different combination of height, width, screw threads and spline numbers. (And, yes, I do now know what a spline is).

So, after our kitchen tap started dripping, it took quite a while for me to identify, track down and receive the exact replacement valve required. The only thing was that, by the time the valve finally arrived, the tap had stopped dripping!

I remember when I was working in the corporate world that I would be dragged into a wide variety of issues and problems, some of which were relevant to me but many of which weren’t. Yet, I would dutifully turn up to meetings or reply to emails on problems where I didn’t have any real knowledge or insight to share.

All that changed when I was away on annual holiday. During those weeks, I was physically unable to get involved. And yet, almost magically, 99% of them had been resolved by the time I returned to work without my input. As with my leaking tap, I found that doing nothing was a better use of my time than doing something.

As a leader of your organisation, you will be an expert in resolving issues. As a result, it’s tempting to get involved in problems that don’t really need your input. At most, your time would be better spent coaching or mentoring the managers involved, although a ‘do nothing’ approach often works best.

If you’re not careful, your precious time can drain away faster than a dripping tap. How much of your time is spent resolving problems that could be easily sorted out without your help?


Off The Record: The Dripping Tap by King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard

The dripping tap won’t be turned off by the suits in charge of our world,

And our future’s hanging on by a thread with our heads in the sand,

The dripping tap won’t be turned off by the Gods up above us, big sky country,

That we never hear from in these times of our dying needs