Is Delegating Your Next Step Forward?

This past week, a group of business leaders were discussing challenges with disconnecting themselves from various responsibilities of their business.  As the conversation progressed it became clear that most of the issues on the table were not about the content of the challenge, but the actual execution of the task itself.

They were giving examples of getting bogged down completing tasks that could or should be delegated to someone else in the company or outsourced to a firm that specializes in that function.  They were failing to recognize their lack of delegating was creating a roadblock that was holding back their company. It was a self-inflicted bottleneck they couldn’t see.   

It usually starts out of necessity, then slides into a routine.  You have specific tasks you feel like you are the only one who can perform.   One of the most common examples is payroll with business owners.  It is amazing how many larger privately owned businesses still have the owner doing all the payroll because they can’t bring themselves to let anyone else besides the IRS and their accountant know what their employees make.  

If this sounds familiar, you may want to take a good hard look at how you spend your time at your business or more directly what you are physically doing.  Often we find business owners are getting bogged down not only doing tasks they could delegate to someone else, but they are preforming tacks or functions they literally hate to do. 

For example: Visionary owners like to think and talk in terms of big picture, the thought of combing through details only stresses them out.  But all too often they are performing functions like reconciling accounts or doing costs analysis on a project or other functions that were acceptable when it was out of necessity. But, as their business has grown, those same tasks have become time suckers and stressors. And the kicker is that they’re often not even very good at those tasks! It takes these visionary owners twice as long to perform the task compared to someone who is passionate about details and numbers. (Which keeps them from doing the more important big picture things that ONLY they can do…).

What could you be delegating?  Seriously, make a list of everything you do and decide what you could delegate.  The funny thing is, once you identify tasks that could be delegated you’ll have a hard time coming up with reasons why you’re still doing them. 

“If you want to do a few small things right, do them yourself. If you want to do great things and make a big impact, learn to delegate.”
– John C. Maxwell, American author

Some of it is often rooted in the “I can do it better myself” mentality.   Maybe it is a matter of trust, knowledge, or proper training. Maybe it is simply, because that is how they have always done it.  It really doesn’t matter the reason, if you are doing tasks that could be performed by other means (employee, outsourced, software, or other) where the value per hour is less than the value of your time, you are limiting your business.  Simply put, when you are performing a task someone (or software) could be doing, you are not performing a task only you can do.  And that is costing you money.

“Surround yourself with the best people you can find, delegate authority, and don’t interfere as long as the policy you’ve decided upon is being carried out.”  – Ronald Reagan

There are few leaders in this world who have achieved any notable level of success without learning the importance of delegating along the way.  So this week as you go about your business, put some thought in to what you are doing. How you are spending your day.  What could or should you be delegating? Be mindful of all the tasks you are performing that could be delegated and make a list.  At the end of the week, prioritize them by the “value-per-hour” you are spending on them.  I think you know the next step from there!  If not, consider talking it over with a trusted advisor.

What about you?  Are you constantly reevaluating all the tasks you’re performing? Asking yourself if you could or should be delegating?  What responsibilities are you reluctant to let go of because you’ve always done them? As always, we value your comments in the space below.

Chris Steinlage Kansas City Business Coach