Sunday, August 19, 2018

Delegate to Scale a Business

A friend suggested I write an article on delegation.  It took me a couple of weeks before I figured out who to delegate the task to and I decided to do it myself.

There have been many articles written on delegation.   In writing this, I am thinking what can I add to what has already been said?

The basics:

Who, What, Why, When and How.  Many people stop at the What and wonder why they do not get the results they want.  The Why really helps with understanding.  It can help the person being delegated to find more meaning in their work and often they will do it better because they understand what is needed.

The best Who is someone that can do the job easiest, fastest, best or most economical.  Delegate jobs that are well suited to the person.  Some people say they cannot delegate because they do not have someone who works for them.  First, that is easy to solve by spending a bit.  Hire someone or hire one of the many outsourced assistant services. 

My favourite trick though is to delegate to someone who I do not pay.  This could be a supplier or a customer (yes, people want to help you without being paid – of course you have to reciprocate).   Or delegate to friends or other contacts.

For example as a What, I could say “I need a list of people who sell appliances”.  A more useful ask would be to add a Why “I want to do a marketing campaign to appliance dealers in the US.”.  Knowing that it is for marketing reasons might cause the person doing the job to add phone numbers and web sites.

And of course that ask is not complete without When.  “By next Wednesday”. 

And the How would also help.  “by searching Google” or “by contacting list brokers”.

One thing that often causes reluctance to delegate is speed and perfection (someone might not do it exactly the way I would).  Part of that can be training.  Training can cost time in the short term but result in long term savings.

Questions I ask myself to inspire myself to delegate include:

Is there someone who can do it easier, faster or better than I can?
Is there something else that is higher impact that I can spend my time on?
Will delegating help me to scale?

Some Tricks

Break the job down.  Many times procrastination is a result of having a huge job.  Breaking it down into small tasks seems more daunting. 

Reporting.  Part of delegation is setting the reporting.  EG “include and update on this on your weekly report”.

I like to say how long I want spent on the job.  Very simple – “can you spend 2 hours to …”.  This avoids overkill.  It also avoids the problem I often have in thinking something can be done in 2 hours but it actually a 10 hour job.  And if I know it would take 10 hours, I might not want it done.

My Tracking.  I generally prefer to surround myself with people who have sticky to do lists – so when something is delegated I know it gets done.  That said, some things I am not sure of the person or some things are so important that I have a corner on my own to do list of things I have delegated.

I also like to have in person check in’s.  It is those that usually uncover things that were not clearly understood.  I can often shake things loose during those meetings by helping get it started or by clarifying things.

I particularly like an early check in.  Often it uncovers more detail that needs to be covered.

I do not yet consider myself a master at delegation.  Perhaps I should read this article.

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Delegating the muffin making:



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