Develop Your People

Research-backed strategies for giving feedback, delegating, & coaching that will save you 1 hr 45 mins/day

In his book, Superbosses: How Exceptional Leaders Master the Flow of Talent, Sydney Finkelstein describes what makes some of the world's legendary bosses - Ralph Lauren, Larry Ellison (Oracle), Mary Kay Ash, Bill Walsh (49ers football team), and others - stand out:

"Superbosses have mastered something most bosses miss — a path to extraordinary success founded on making other people successful."

As a manager, leader, or business owner, your success is ultimately dependent on the success of those who work for you and with you. While this may seem obvious, developing people is not easy. Studies show that most managers spend over 25% of their week - or nearly 2.5 hours/day - managing their poorest performers. And, according to a recent survey of HR professionals, only 2% of employers provide ongoing feedback to their people.

Here's how making sub-optimal investments or under-investments in developing people is costing you:

  • Most people are not getting enough feedback (65% of people say they want more feedback, which is great because those who receive regular feedback are 10% more productive than those who don't)
  • Most people get feedback that is not helpful (while 75% of people theoretically believe feedback is valuable, only 17% say the feedback they receive from their managers is meaningful)
  • Most people don't know if they're doing a good job, which produces anxiety and overworking (74% of millennials feel "in the dark" about their performance)
  • Most managers don't delegate well or enough (nearly half of 332 surveyed companies were concerned about their managers' delegation skills)

People have often said, "management is more art than science." While there is truth to that, there is also now an ample supply of science that can guide your management practices, helping you develop people rapidly and save time.

Still not convinced? Take your time reading through the details of our time-savings calculations below in the research and analysis section.

"Some really great suggestions and tips in here that help break down coaching. I'd like to believe I'm good at emotional intelligence, but this made me realize I probably have some blind spots and could do better."

- Senior Manager, Twitter

"Very helpful to think through how to provide feedback to people reporting to you!"

- Manager, Bain & Company

"This course highlighted several issues that I wanted to learn more about. It was incredibly helpful."

- Fellow, Harvard Kennedy School of Government (Government Performance Lab)



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RESEARCH & ANALYSIS: 1 hour 45 minute/day time-saving opportunity

#1 – Not delegating enough and well = 63 mins/day

  • According to one study of 39 companies, knowledge workers in management feel they could “easily off-load” 41% of the tasks they do every day in that there isn’t a need for them to do those tasks themselves[1]
  • However, when given the opportunity, they only delegated 2-20% of all tasks – an average of 28% of tasks marked as easily off-loaded. While this low rate of delegation is likely due in part to poor delegation skills, it is also likely related to external constraints to delegation (e.g., team members not having capacity to accept more work). To be conservative, we assumed 28% of the 41% of easily off-loaded tasks were actually capable of being delegated.
  • In this study, managers were able to save an average of 5.2 hours/week or 62.4 mins/day, which is almost identical to multiplying daily hours worked (9.4) times 41% times 28% (62.8 mins/day)

#2 – Not giving feedback that is meaningful & helps people do better work = 17 mins/day

  • Only about 25% of people believe the feedback they receive is “meaningful” and that it helps them do better work[2]
  • Those that do are 3.2 times more likely to be highly engaged than those that don’t[2]
  • This suggests that 58% of people who are currently disengaged could become highly engaged if they were to receive meaningful feedback
  • Highly engaged people are 22% more productive than their disengaged peers[5]
  • Managers spend about half of their time in meetings[3], which we discounted by 30%, and used a conservative proxy for the amount of time managers spend “managing” people every day. This turns out to be 3.3 hours/day for those working the average of 47 hours/week.
  • By multiplying these 3.3 hours/day by the 58% of people who could become highly engaged with meaningful feedback and the 22% productivity gains and our 90% discount to account for the fact that not all employee productivity increases will result in manager time savings, we calculate 22.5 mins/day of potential savings
  • To avoid potential double-counting of savings across the 3 feedback areas, we discounted these savings by 25%, resulting in 16.9 mins/day

#3 – Not giving feedback regularly enough = 13 mins/day

  • Only 18% of disengaged employees get feedback weekly, while 43% of highly engaged do, meaning that 70% of people who get feedback weekly are highly engaged[4]
  • If weekly feedback was given to the other 82% of disengaged people and the same ratio (70%) remained, 58% of disengaged employees could become highly engaged
  • As cited above, highly engaged employees are 22% more productive than their disengaged peers[5,6]
  • We spend 26% of our time on our low-performers – a proxy for, though not identical to disengaged employees – amounting to 146.6 mins/day[7]
  • By giving regular feedback, we could move 58% of disengaged employees to highly engaged, increasing their productivity by 22%, which would result in 16.8 mins/day saved (when using the same 90% assumption above)
  • To avoid potential double-counting of savings across the 3 feedback areas, we discounted these savings by 25%, resulting in 12.6 mins/day

#4 – Not giving positive, strengths-based feedback that is focused and future-oriented = 12 mins/day

  • We spend 26% of our time on our low-performers – reviewing, correcting, and redoing their work and then managing their performance issues – amounting to 146.6 mins/day[7]
  • People who receive strengths feedback are 12.5% more productive after receiving this type of positive feedback than they were before[8]
  • We conservatively assume that 90% of productivity gains experienced by low-performers would transfer to managers as well, amounting to 16.5 mins/day[9]
  • To avoid potential double-counting of savings across the 3 feedback areas, we discounted these savings by 25%, resulting in 12.4 mins/day


  1. Birkinshaw, J. and Cohen, J. “Make Time for the Work That Matters.” Harvard Business Review (Sep 2013).
  2. State of the American Workplace.” Gallup (2017).
  3. Oshagbemi, Titus. “Management development and managers’ use of their time.” Journal of Management Development, Vol. 14 No. 8 (1995).
  4. Employee Feedback: The Complete Guide.” OfficeVibe (Accessed Aug 2018).
  5. Baldoni, John. “Employee Engagement Does More than Boost Productivity.Harvard Business Reivew (Jul 2013).
  6. Note: This report suggests that those who receive monthly feedback performed 46% better than their peers, suggesting that the 22% figure we used above is conservative: Windust, Jon. “The science of feedback: What is the right frequency for workplace feedback?Cognology (May 2015).
  7. The High Price Of A Low Performer.” Robert Half (May 2018).
  8. Asplund, J. and Blacksmith, N. “The Secret of Higher Performance.” Gallup (May 2011).
  9. Note: This is also conservative in the sense that we have only applied this productivity gain to low-performing team members rather than everyone a person manages even though many high- and average-performers could also benefit from receiving this type of feedback.

About Us


Our goal is putting time back in your life. We help individuals and companies save time by developing productive habits and adopting productive mindsets based on real research into where people lose time and how they can get it back.

Our online courses enable you to take ~5 minutes of your daily Facebook or Instagram scrolling time and get something for it. Here's how they work:

  • Micro-lessons: ~5 mins each, 1-2 hours over a month
  • Learning as a game: Learn by answering questions, no long reading
  • Habit-focused: Designed to help you change your behaviors

Frequently Asked Questions

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The course starts now and ends in 2 months! You're free to choose how you move through the course. Remember that information alone won't save you time. Aligning your behaviors with research-backed practices will and that takes focus, which is why we restrict access to 2 months.
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