Delegate or Die.

So many times as a business owner, we hear everyone say, “You need to delegate this. You need to get somebody else to do it.” Why don’t we do that? Why are we so flawed that advice might as well be etched in stone, then set beneath the base of the pyramids? I think the reality comes back to control. 

The difference between a business owner and a manager is having skin in the game. Let’s face it when you’re managing; you’re using other people’s money. It’s not coming out of your pocket. It’s not coming out of your blood, sweat, and tears. You are entrusted with something to look after.

Look, most managers are very good at doing that, but when you’re the owner, it’s personal. Ultimately It’s your hip pocket, so it becomes a very different approach, there’s different wiring with your thinking. Based on your level of success and your principles that have worked for you in the past, doing things your way, which makes you unique, it builds this bias where you think; I am the expert. I am a guru. If I don’t do it, then nobody else is going to do it well. Granted, I understand those feelings. I think that that’s a valid point. However, let’s look at it differently.

If you look at the very successful business models that exist today, franchising is one of them. The whole principle of franchising is to make a business model so that it is turnkey. It’s ready to go—instant business. You pretty much add people, follow the systems and away you go. Franchising runs on a fundamental concept of delegation and systems. Why do we struggle as business owners to identify that? Maybe because we think that our personal touch can do it, and that will make a difference, but you only have so much time in the world. 

The best way forward is to look at ways you can delegate what you do to multiply your effectiveness and leverage. The straightforward, quick win for that is to put in place effective systems, but more importantly, make sure that the systems are your secret sauce, not just the basic things. 

If you look at your business and you write down a list of all the things you do as a business owner. Make a big list. Then in another column put how much time that they’re taking you in a week or a month. Pick a specific time frame too. That is comparable; often a month is a better period than a week. Then in another column put down or describe what you would have to do to delegate that particular thing. Then in a third column, what you need to do is how much time that would save you, not delegating time, insofar as the time it takes to set that up. But once that’s done. For example, let’s say, you had a report that you’d run all the time, you do yourself. If that’s moved on to somebody else, what impact does that have to your month? 

Then on the fourth column give it a rating from 1 to 10, as to how much difference it’ll make to the business. Once you put this table together, it gives you an idea of what you should be delegating because the things that make a significant impact to the business, save you more time and have a low cost to train people. Those are the big rocks you should be dealing with first, but more importantly, there’s a tool to help you lift this burden, and this is called the column of leveraging and outsourcing. 

This is where you could use external expertise and skills to drive your business forward, a plug-in component if you like. One of the more readily made things, payroll and accounting services, as well as virtual CFO services, these are things that can be attached to your business to make a big difference.

The other fundamental point I just wanted to talk about with delegation is your level of trust and confidence in your team. Often when you are delegating something to somebody, you need to pay attention, to see if they fully understand what it was you were talking about, “This is how it all works. Get it?” and your employee nods and says, “Yes.” Did they actively engage in the conversation, or are they going through the motions? 

The second thing is that you have procedures. It would be best if you had processes. Clarity is vital on what it is you’re doing. Appeal to the different styles of learning using the VAK learning style. Visual, Auditory, and Kinesthetic. Some people learn by visual cues, pictures and diagrams work well. Other people learn by just listening to what’s going on, and then others that are kinesthetic learners like to do the thing that you’re trying to train them up in; you walk them through the whole process. Ultimately, when you’re delegating something, you need to touch all three bases. Training might start with a written procedure. That’s just in bullet points, then a diagram or some workflows, and you might even do up a recording on this is how you do it or have a demonstration and go through your philosophies behind the tasks.

You’re giving audio cues, visual cues, not only that, you then have a training that you might run through with your staff members that would help tick all the boxes. It doesn’t need to be a masterwork of an award-winning movie. You need a starting point, but over time you’ll change them, and they will evolve. Once your team are clear on the process and can take that responsibility, then you’ll get more time back. In the initial stages, it will take you time to prepare, train, and document. Once again, we come back to our good, old 80 20 rule. You need to identify what’s your return on this. Is what you’re trying to delegate not delegatable? Is it something that requires so much of a learning curve it’s not worth doing? You don’t use that as the rule that delegation fails. No. You find other things that are more workable to delegate, and you build momentum. 

Choose the easier tasks first, not the ones that you want to do because it keeps you busy and makes you feel like you’re doing work. This is where our good old friend, the law of triviality kicks in here. It would be best if you looked at things that are easy to you but can be done by others. Then as you move up the train, there are many things that you don’t like doing and take much time, and you think right, “I’ll delegate that out, I don’t want to have to deal with it,” is the wrong move.” That’s where you run up unnecessary costs. What you can do is get better at dealing with that because there’s some things you cannot delegate in the end. You need to identify what they are and don’t try and offset them initially.

As you build momentum with your delegation capabilities and cycle, you’ll get better and better at doing this. If not get the help of a coach, get them as a sounding board who can hear you out and ask you questions that can help you see things in a new way and share their experiences so that you can avoid making the same mistakes. 

Second, be very clear about what it is you’re delegating, this is a challenge these days in our modern-era with so many changes so quickly. I often fall into this bear trap, and I’ll know when it’s not working. It’s because my staff will look at me and go, “huh? or “oh yeah…” Which means, “I heard what you’re saying, but I didn’t get it, and I don’t want to know about it.”

Hopefully, this has been helpful. Ultimately delegation is the key to success because it leads us back to our good old friend leveraging. Need help with leveraging your business contact us. We have the experience and tried and tested methods and systems.