If you created an organizational chart, how many boxes would your name be written in? If you don’t have an org chart, spend 60 seconds envisioning the different roles of your company: Sales, Finance, Marketing, Admin, HR, IT, Production. How many of these roles are you responsible for?
According to recent Salesforce research, you are responsible for an average of 4.2 roles. That’s a lot of roles to manage, and that puts a lot of weight on one set of shoulders.
But that’s just how it has to be, right? That’s the life of an entrepreneur. We read story after story about the independent risk-taker who takes out the trash and writes the code, all slammed into an 80-hour work week.
What if there was another way?
When you study entrepreneurial businesses that scale, you find that most are backed by a highly capable team who has been empowered to lead based on their unique skillsets. That’s delegation, and it is terrifying. In fact, it seems like it should be a four-letter word. It makes us entrepreneurs feel as if we’re losing control … like we’re not protecting our baby. But research shows that delegating is one of the best ways to nurture and grow our company.
The Fruit of Delegation
When business owners and managers begin to delegate, they empower and energize their team and create margin in their own lives to cast vision and scale.
Here are four key ways delegation grows businesses.
- Delegation empowers your team. When your team feels trusted to lead, they begin to find greater purpose in their role within the company and feel empowered to effect change.
- Delegation energizes your team. There are tasks that owners and managers take on that just have to get done, and many don’t excite. But there are others on your team who are excited and energized to take on those tasks and roles. As you better understand your team and their skillsets, you can match them up with responsibilities that energize them.
- Delegation allows you to cast vision. With business owners managing too much, burnout is inevitable. When we don’t properly rest, both physically and mentally, our work suffers. Through rest and taking regular clarity breaks, we find the energy to refocus, cast vision, and invest in our team.
- Delegation allows you to scale. When your time as a leader is freed from draining or less-than-critical tasks, you’re given more time to focus on scaling your business. A Gallup poll found that CEOs who regularly delegate generate 33% more revenue than those who don’t.
Gino Wickman is the creator of the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS), which is a business system that thousands of businesses run on, including M&R Marketing. He is a big proponent of delegation and a firm believer that without delegating, your business will not scale.
In his book Traction, Gino says:
Your ability to break through the ceiling depends on your ability to delegate. Be prepared to ‘delegate and elevate’ to your true god-given skillset. You’ll have to delegate some of your responsibilities and elevate yourself to operate at your highest and best use. It’s not practical for you to remain chef, head waiter, and dishwasher as your company grows. By hanging on to all the tiny details, you’re actually constricting the company’s growth. When you experience that personal growth, the company will grow under you. This is exactly what is meant by letting go of the vine.
When you let go, you need to make sure you’re letting go of the right duties. The responsibilities that you delegate to other people have to be tasks that you have outgrown. These include things such as opening mail, writing proposals, approving invoices, and handling customer complaints. The beauty of this transition is that there are people who have the skills and enthusiasm to do these jobs.
Tips for Delegating
If delegation were simple, we would have more growing businesses, more equipped teams, and less burnout among leaders. But delegation is not simple and it requires ongoing, deliberate action.
Here are seven efforts that have helped us delegate.
Hire the right people.
If you want to be comfortable and confident in your delegation, it begins with hiring a team of people who hold your core values, understand your vision, and possess the skillsets and interests to lead in their area.
Create processes and procedures.
Entrepreneurs typically hold all the operational knowledge because they’ve held every position within the company. When this information is trapped in one person’s head, it’s impossible to properly delegate. Creating processes will create clarity, identify expectations, and provide an ongoing roadmap for those tasked with the new role. Having processes also helps future-proof your roles to account for turnover or promotions.
Assess what needs delegating.
There will be some tasks that never come off your plate and others that you need to transition immediately. Determining the right tasks to delegate is an important step and there’s a great tool to help you (see below).
Test the waters of delegation by starting small and off-load some of your administrative or data-related tasks. Then move on to larger, more important projects that you may be doing but aren’t naturally gifted at. If you’ve completed step 1 correctly and hired the right people, you’ll have no problem finding someone to delegate these to.
Delegation is not a “hand-off and run” process. If that’s your approach, the tasks will end up back on your plate before long. To effectively delegate, you must provide support after the hand-off. Having a regular meeting rhythm for check-ins and updates will ensure your employee is equipped and supported, provide you confidence, and help avoid micromanaging the process.
To begin with, the tasks will not be completed the same way you completed them. But over time, you’ll realize that’s a good thing! Your team will breathe new life into these responsibilities and, when operating out of passion and skillset, they’ll eventually do them better than you did!
Provide continuing education.
As team members take on new roles, it’s important to equip them to do their best work. Creating a continuing education schedule will give them the confidence to thrive in their new role.
Delegation Tool: Delegate and Elevate
Learning how to get started is no small task and referencing available tools from those who have done it before is invaluable. The EOS business system has a great tool for helping assess what needs delegating; it’s called Delegate and Elevate and you can access it here.
To properly use the Delegate and Elevate tool, you will:
- Track every daily business activity for 2 weeks. You’ll keep a journal and write down everything you do and the time frame you did it in (Checked mail and paid bills [7:00-8:10am], returned sales calls and emailed leads [8:10-9:45], etc).
- Place each activity into 1 of 4 quadrants: (1) Love/Great, (2) Like/Good, (3) Don’t Like/Good, (4) Don’t Like/Not Good.
- Calculate how long you spend doing each activity and note the percentage of your weekly hours spent completing each task
Once your Delegate and Elevate chart is complete, you’ll begin to focus on the activities to delegate, starting with quadrants 3 and 4 (those you “don’t like are good” at and those you “don’t like and are not good” at. This provides a great launch point for your new focus on delegation.
I realize the idea of delegating areas of the business you built from the ground up is scary, but if you take an intentional, systematic approach it will significantly change your life and the life of your business.