Leadership

Delegate effectively and grow your business more quickly

Delegate effectively and grow your business more quickly

Business owners and executives never have enough time. And now your business is growing, your responsibilities are changing, but you still aren’t delegating effectively. It’s a big trap that, without warning, surprises many leaders, particularly entrepreneurs. It would be best to realize that you won’t be able to lead effectively for very long without giving up some of what you are doing and continuing over time to do so. 

How can I have a scalable business?

The best executives understand that their business’ ability to scale correlates directly to how well they delegate and how good the training is for those who provide that depth in the company. In short, if you don’t delegate appropriately, you will choke off your ability to scale.

Let’s pause for a moment to think about that statement above and recognize how important it is to the future of your business. 

When you started your business, you were doing almost everything at one point, and you continue to try to do what you’ve always done. Some of you believe that no one can “do it better than you can”, and you may be right about that for now. Logically, you should know how to do most things better than others in your business. You initiated that business. But that doesn’t mean that you should continue to operate that way. 

Is responsibility delegation essential?

Most executives and entrepreneurs who fall into this trap do not see it easily because it occurs gradually. That is a normal progression of most businesses. But the earlier you recognize that you must ‘let go’ of specific responsibilities, the healthier and more scalable your business will be. 

Think of it as ‘getting out of your own way’. Many businesses discover that they cannot scale when it is too late to reverse course.  Quality suffers. Sales decreased. Typical business challenges have a significant negative impact when perhaps they should not. 

As the business’s top executive, whether you own a small business or are an entrepreneur, your responsibilities must adapt to the ‘bigger picture’ role. It is difficult, if not impossible, to do that if you are still doing ‘everything’ that you have always done. If you as a business owner don’t grow your leadership skill set, your company eventually will not grow.

What responsibilities should I be delegating?

The most common reason leaders of businesses of all sizes have trouble delegating is that they haven’t trained other employees to competently perform new skills for different essential roles. As a result, they are not comfortable letting them handle tasks with which they are unfamiliar.

The concept of creating the necessary depth in your organization is relatively simple. However, it is better accomplished gradually and with forethought. Once you know your scalability is being squeezed, there is no quick fix for this.

How can I begin the delegation process?

So, what is required to start this transition to a healthier, more scalable business? Let’s explore four comprehensive steps.

Step 1. Triage your time allocation

  • First, take a detailed look at what tasks comprise how you spend your time. Let’s take inventory of your time. Go through the process of reviewing your activities in detail over a one-month period. How much time did you spend doing what?
  • Now rank these activities by importance; most to least. What do you see?
  • Now start listing what you think that you should not be doing.

Let’s stop here and take a moment to define ‘what you should not be doing’. If you perform this step incorrectly, you won’t start the kind of delegation process that will transform the potential scalability of your business.

Here is an example for you to consider. You have done your time inventory and created a list of tasks. You recognize that many are not where you should spend your time. But then you seek to ‘get help’ with some of those tasks to buy back some time, and you think you should hire administrative help to take those tasks away.

Here is the problem with that thinking. Essentially, you say that you should only remove yourself from administrative tasks. And you are only ‘getting help’ with a particular task set, meaning that you are still involved, and the new administrative employee is only there to assist you. Since you are not delegating the tasks completely, this will only impact what you try to achieve in a minor way. 

  • Next, realize that the more vital purpose of training delegation skills is to spread meaningful responsibility to future business leaders. You want to coach others to become decision-makers and leaders and not just take a delegated task or two off your plate. This is an entirely different form of delegation and provides significant and lasting value. 

Creating depth of decision-makers and leaders is critical to building a scalable business. Don’t shortcut the process by getting bogged down in offloading minor or ‘administrative’ tasks only. Think bigger and further out in time to visualize the impact of what you are about to do. Now you are ready for step 2.

Step 2. Minor administration delegation

Next, you need a plan to offload some of that ‘administrative’ work you identified.

  • Begin by picking a candidate to train to delegate that work entirely.
  • Schedule 1-2 hours/week to train that person until capable of ultimately assuming those duties.

A specific technique that works well is to train them by having them ride shotgun with you as you perform some of the tasks. Let them see you do it and learn.

  • Establish a date after which that work will be the full responsibility of that person. Let your trainee know that as well. You will know when they are ready. Then “Let go!”, let them do it, and make mistakes to build self-sufficiency. 

You have now taken care of the ‘administrative’ tasks component of a successful delegation process.

Step 3. Major decision-making and leadership delegation

Now let’s turn our attention to the more critical delegation process that must take place and begin creating those decision-makers and leaders that your business needs. 

  • Take a closer look at your time inventory list and think about responsibilities that are significant to the operation and growth of the business. Take your time with this process as you envision your organization’s future structure and how it may look. As you imagine it, you should see that you cannot continue running every significant component of your business and thriving.
  • Once you do this, you may recognize that your business needs to be reorganized or restructured to become more efficient. You may also choose to show your future leaders the vision of how the company will be structured and run in the future at a high level. More importantly, this will let them see how and where they may have the most significant positive impact on the business’s operational success.

Take your time here to create that vision. Don’t overthink this. Remember, it is a starting point for the training of responsible leaders. The picture will change by necessity as you grow and learn. This initial vision is to get you started, not a guarantee of how the business will eventually look.

A special note to think about: I have watched some very successful executives, who have worked through this process, add a step. You may want to consider it. 

That step involves including those you wish to train in your ‘vision building’ process. You may be pleasantly surprised by what they bring to the table. It’s an excellent way to show trust in those around you and build excitement about the future of where your business can go. All of you will enjoy this process together. Consider adding this step.

  • Let’s continue in the process of training decision-makers and leaders. Select a few candidates for training on more significant operational responsibility in your business. Organize your thoughts on how you will transfer your knowledge to them, and then start the training.
  • Allocate 1-2 hours per week to the process and remember that riding shotgun with you as you perform these roles is perhaps the most efficient and expeditious way to train them.
  • Once again, set a target date for them to take over the responsibilities, make them aware of that date and then prepare to step back and let them learn by doing.

Step 4. Now execute the same process throughout your company. Rinse and repeat. 

You are off and running now. Remember that you are building an organization to support your operation more effectively in the future. This process is continuous. Future trainers are those you have trained in delegation skills and will now build depth in their sub-organizations as they grow.

Conclusion:     

Remember, you cannot scale your business if you do not delegate and build knowledge and skill depth in your company. It’s impossible. Centralized decision-making will eventually become a crippling bottleneck to operating and growing your business. That certainty can affect all sizes of businesses, particularly small businesses.

Teach your leaders to delegate. Build a culture of consistent employee development throughout your company. That will create operational and leadership depth in your company. Depth is ‘safety’. It is favorable for your employees and good for business longevity. Yes. This process takes time to establish, but it enables your company to run predictably for its lifetime when done correctly. It starts at the top with the business owner. There are no shortcuts here.

Delegation and employee development, at first, may seem relatively unimportant. But they are a critical component of every Bulletproof Business designed to stand the test of time and survive the inevitable business storms that will come your way.

Don’t wait! Get started NOW! The viability of your business is going to depend on it.

If you want to explore specific ways your company can plan on this topic, click below for a complimentary session with me. I’d be delighted to have a conversation with you. https://calendly.com/dave-kerford/

Also, join our Bullet Proof Business Community. This is a forum of wisdom and insights shared by our C-suite and business leader members, who have created or are creating what we call Bulletproof Businesses. As a first step to joining our community, click below to sign up for our newsletter. https://davekerford.com/subscribe/

Enjoy!

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