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Use comparative advantage to decide what work you should own and what you should move off your plate, either through delegation or by deprioritizing completely. For managers, understanding your and your team members’ comparative advantage can help you craft role expectations and must-haves for hiring, design MOCHAs, figure out the division of labor on your team, and reprioritize.

To identify your (or others’) comparative advantage, think about everything that’s on your plate and consider the following criteria for each item:

  1. Impact: Will it have a substantial impact on furthering your organization or team’s mission?
  2. Role: Does it fit within your role expectations and position in the organization?
  3. Strengths: Are you excellent (not just good) at the thing? (Alternatively, are you the only one who is excellent or good at it?)

If you can answer yes to all three questions for an area of work, then it should stay on your plate. If there’s anything on your list that doesn’t hit at least two of the criteria, move it off (by delegating or deprioritizing altogether). For items that only hit two of the three criteria, consider whether you should delegate (if it doesn’t make sense to do as part of your role or if it’s not a strength), develop your skills (if it’s not currently a strength but is a must-have for your role), or reconsider entirely (if it’s not high-impact). After you’ve decided what to move off your plate, identify specific next steps.

For more support on identifying your comparative advantage, check out our article Decide What to Delegate With Comparative Advantage.

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