Today’s mental model is on the idea of “Division of Labor”. In short, it’s about having a group of people work together who each focus on the areas where they are best, versus having everyone in your group try to excel at everything.
One good example of this is a band. While there is some crossover in skills, they generally have a drummer that is great at drumming, a bass player that is awesome on the bass, etc. If you had a band full of people that were pretty good at everything, versus awesome at their one thing, they likely wouldn’t be as successful.
Another example is simply a company like ours. Ashlea is a fantastic developer, Joanna is a top-notch designer, Robert is one of the best writers I know, and everyone on the team has their role. If I were to ding Robert because it’s not an amazing designer, that’d be foolish of me. He knows his role and excels at it, and with everyone doing their part we can do amazing work.
It takes time
When you’re starting a new company, you generally need to do everything. Ali and I had a bit of split in roles from day one (she designed, I developed), but we both needed to be decent at everything else (writing, social media, sales, finance, etc). Over time, we’ve been able to hire professionals for those roles, which is a huge benefit to all of us.
Andrew McVagh says it this way:
As different people master different skills we develop a sort of Collective Intelligence that makes a whole which is greater than the sum of the parts. Together we can make things much bigger than ourselves.
Early on in a business, it’s easy to say “I’m too busy so I’ll just try to hire another person with my same skillset”, but the more quickly you can start to truly divide the labor, the better off you’ll be in the long run.