by Ron Stein
I’m a hands-on guy and like to dive in and get everything done. The problem is, I only have so many hands to go around!
If I’m working on my business or helping clients -- whether it's one complicated project or several tasks at once -- something must give. And the harder I push to the finish line, the more everything just seems to slow down.
It’s like a Ferrari LaFerrari. Sure, this 789-horsepower beauty is capable of a top speed of at least 220 mph and can go 0 - 60 in 2.3 seconds. Yet, try accomplishing this on a dirt road with some puddles thrown in and see what happens.
We all go through this. We under estimate what it’ll take to get the project(s) done. Plus, one roadblock after another appears unexpectedly. It’s simple really: we operate in constant interrupt mode while believing that we alone can do it all.
News flash. You may be good, probably great at what you do, but you are not a super human. What is a mere mortal to do?
Traditionally, delegation implies the transfer of authority and the associated responsibility by a superior to their subordinate. Yet, if you don’t have anyone reporting to you or can’t afford to hire more staff you can still delegate.
Go beyond the idea of delegating “down” to people who report to you. Delegate up. Delegate to people outside of your company. Delegate to coworkers.
The great strength of delegation is that together we can accomplish so much more.
Delegation allows us to multiply ourselves through distribution of responsibilities to increase leverage -- to grow our businesses beyond our own individual capacities. It does take some trust to be able to delegate, and that trust needs to be wisely placed.
Establish goals and have a priority system. Before handing over tasks to others, you must have clear goals and priorities to help explain why what you need help with is important to them. It’s the only way you can motivate your “team”. Overlay the activities you need help with based on the degree of effort required and the skill level needed. Now identify the people who have the talents most relevant to that task, no matter if you manage them or not. Create a key initiatives spreadsheet with all the activities listed, the priority (now, soon, whenever) with dates, and potential candidates having the relevant skills that can successfully accomplish the task or the person who “owns” the resource and can direct their activities.
Delegate up. It’s time to get your boss to do some work for you. Or in my case, my client. You may not have the authority, budget, or resources to realize your vison and do your job, yet ultimately whatever you are attempting to accomplish is for the good of the company. Your boss or client wants [more customers, website traffic increase, revenue growth, etc.] and you can deliver the results -- if only you had some help. Have a plan with a solution and point out the resource holes. Seek guidance on how best to proceed. Help your manager help you. Use the key initiatives spreadsheet you generated to clearly communicate what you want to accomplish for the company and the tasks and skills that will make it a reality.
Get an intern. Before singing the praises of student interns you should know a few things: hiring a college intern requires a significant amount of your time and effort. Because it’s a training and mentoring program. It’s a form of delegation, but please don’t think of it as just cheap labor, it’s not. If you’re good with that, you’re in for a treat. My intern, Emmalee May, from the University of Florida is my secret weapon. She’s not just bright and eager to learn, Emmalee brings fresh ideas and energy to my assignments. She helps me and my clients with projects and tasks that we struggle to complete. The right intern will help you fill in the gaps by doing work relevant to their career interests. Emmalee is getting her degree in public relations and advertising, with an appetite for marketing and sales. As such, it’s a big win for both of us and my clients too. Consider interviewing someone like Emmalee from your local college who is in their senior year to see if there’s a fit. Who knows, maybe you’ll discover a hard-working future employee during the internship.
If you find yourself balancing on the edge of frustration with a touch of burnout, it’s time to get help through delegating. This doesn’t mean dumping your work on others.
Effectively delegating tasks makes it possible to vastly expand the amount of work that can be accomplished. That’s good for you and great for your company.
Ron Stein is founder of More Customers Academy, helping business leaders build strategic messaging and positioning that cuts through the competitive noise to grow revenue. Ron has developed his own highly successful 5-step Stand Out & Sell More approach to winning new customers as a result of his twenty-five years of business development, marketing, and selling experiences. He works with a range of businesses, from startups to large corporations across industries including technology and healthcare, manufacturing, and financial services and banking. Ron conducts workshops, leads company meetings, offers keynote talks, and consults. He can be reached at 727-398-1855 or by email.