By Emily Morgan
Most entrepreneurs struggle when it comes to the art of delegation; and that is what it is… an art. Figuring out how to approach the topic can seem like a daunting task, but is truly critical to growing a successful business. Many of these entrepreneurs are already profitable and resistant to mastering delegation as a way to take their business to the next level.
The most successful entrepreneurs are the ones who realize that delegation of daily tasks and implementation of a long-term strategy is vital. However, many business owners struggle with handing off these daily tasks. While they understand the importance of doing so in theory, they are such hard-working, “do-it-yourselfers” they are consistently hesitant to actually executing the plan.
The mindset of resistant entrepreneurs usually falls into one of the following categories. Either: “If you want something done right, do it yourself.” Or, “I tried delegating this before and it didn’t work out. It ended up costing me more time and money to fix it.” And, of course, “I know I need help, but I’m not in a place where I can afford to hire someone to help with my delegation needs.”
Regardless of the reason to put off getting help with your delegation, here’s the truth: You are not alone when it comes to your anxiety or needs. Many feel like their problems are unique, but the work that you are doing is not so differentiated that a solution cannot be worked out, especially when you are willing to accept help from the experts.
Believe me, your challenges do not make you immune to being a successful delegating professional. In the end, the successful entrepreneur is the one who commits to a structured approach to delegation, and an ongoing commitment to keeping up with it every day. Here are a few delegation tips to guide you.
1. Start Small
The first thing I advise is to identify time wasters and fill in those needs with the strengths of others. As the leader of your business, it may be difficult to identify you and your team’s shortcomings, but it is key to address and attack, rather than to fear the change or ignore the problems. Once weaknesses are identified, focus on breaking down the larger tasks and projects into smaller projects to build your delegation framework.
Don’t let yourself become discouraged or overwhelmed by attempting to tackle everything having to do with the big picture in week 1; instead start small and tackle one easy thing at a time. Identify which aspects of your business would be the simplest to automate or hand off to an assistant. Your calendar and team meetings are a good place to start. This type of simple delegation will help you build confidence. It also creates a more structured day and removes the back and forth from when to meet and saves you time. Once you’ve mastered the small tasks, you will be ready to move on to bigger ones, and won’t be fearful to do so.
2. Progress Not Perfection
Leadership teams should continually identify at least 10% of tasks that they can either delegate or automate, which immediately increases their focus and value. It’s important to train and trust your teams, as a collective effort focused on leveraging unique strengths will produce much greater results than one business owner can accomplish on their own.
However, if this is where the effort stops, those leaders can actually become the bottlenecks because they must continually manage the delegation of these menial tasks. Ongoing strategic delegation and a long-term plan is vital to the process being a success. As you expand your confidence around delegation and begin to compartmentalize smaller projects, it will get easier to tackle the larger projects.
Handing the right things off will become second nature and then you will be able to let your delegation resource handle these tasks for you. You’ve now created momentum to move forward some of your larger picture ideas in a meaningful way without your involvement in every aspect of the project. When it comes back to you, all that remains is your 20% – tweaks and special touches – ensuring you still get the final say but are better allocating your precious time.
3. Commit to the Monotonous
Delegation is a critical skill that every leader must master and is arguably one of the most common traits separating reasonably successful business owners from the entrepreneurs leading their respective fields. The key is to build repeatable processes into your business growth strategy that stem from key goals and priorities.
The monotonous makes up at least 50% of your business and is critically important. It can be challenging as a creative entrepreneur to feel like you’re wasting your time on back office tasks. But this is the backbone of how you deliver what you do in an effective, unique way and is what creates value to those you work with. By ignoring it because, “things function fine the way they are” is not is not serving your greater purpose.
Once you invest the upfront time and effort needed to get the delegation process going, the great thing is that you are not responsible for maintaining many of these boring tasks. But you must put in the time in the beginning to effectively set your vision into motion. Your ongoing commitment to the process of delegation is necessary, along with an understanding that it takes time. The process will need to be continually refined and it may take time to find the right solution for you and your business. If you commit to the process, it will work and take you to the next level!