I once coached a small business owner whose business had grown rapidly in a year and then stagnated for the next 6 months and was on the decline when she called me. She couldn’t understand what happened… She was doing the same marketing, had a great reputation and the blessing of a referral based business. I sensed the problem as soon as I met her (after 3 cancelled meetings on her end) and confirmed the issue after a short conversation. She was doing everything herself — that was important when she started the business, but now almost 2 years in it was not possible anymore.
Why are we so resistant to delegating? Is it control? Is it perfectionism? Is it fear? It’s probably a combination of the three and a little more like an aversion to making the time to formally set up policies and procedures. (On a side note, I’m a big fan of policies and procedures manuals: find more info here | resources).
Well I say if you are not delegating, you are not growing. And if you’re not growing, your business won’t either.
4 reasons you should consider delegating some of your tasks:
- Delegating will give you more time to concentrate on your business rather than in your business.
- Delegating will help you get more buy-in from your team. Replace the word delegating with recognition and you’ll get the point. Recognizing that someone on your team can handle a project or an aspect of a project will go a long way to foster commitment and job satisfaction.
- Chances are your team members have strengths and specialized skills you are not taking advantage of… give them a way to shine and take advantage of the talent you already have.
- Delegating tasks and/or projects gives fresh insight and brings in new perspectives. We often do not see opportunities because we are so used to doing something one way that we don’t allow the space for creativity.
How do you know if it’s time for you to delegate?
- If you feel that there is not enough time in the day and things are falling by the wayside.
- What does a typical day look like for you? What would an ideal day look like? Address the gap by delegating internally or externally.
- How are you doing with the 80/20 rule? Is 80% of your revenue coming from 20% of your clients? Are you spending enough time with them? Are you spending enough time looking for them?
- Are you willing to tolerate different approaches to completing a task? You can’t delegate and then micromanage. You can’t delegate and not give some kind of autonomy– you can set parameters and boundaries, but you have to let some of the control go!
How do you decide if the person is ready for the responsibility you are delegating to them?
- Are they already doing this for another project?
- Have they expressed an interest? Very often people let us know they can help and we push that aside as they are just trying to be helpful. Why not have a conversation to determine if they really can help?
- If they are not already doing this or something similar, will the person grasp the concept after a short training period?
- Will they respect the boundaries you set up?
If you are new at this I suggest baby steps. Start small. Take time to evaluate your day and how you spend time. Read The Big Leap by Dr. Gay Hendricks– are you stuck doing things you don’t have the skills and desire to do? Rest assured that there are people around you (or who would be easy to identify and access) who will probably relish doing those things.
The perfect team has all sorts of skill levels and interests and strengths. You don’t have to do it all for it to be done well. Concentrate on your strengths. Your business and your clients will be better for it. And that client I told you about earlier? She adopted the mantra “I am letting go so I can grow”. She hired an assistant and brought on 2 freelancers. Imagine that she had to have 3 people doing all she was doing (!). The results 6 months later were impressive– she moved into a larger space and one of the freelancers was hired full time.
What are you willing to let go so you can grow??