Life Area: Professional
So many of my clients and seminar attendees are entrepreneurs and small business owners susceptible to falling into the habit of doing everything themselves and finding it very difficult to delegate even the most trivial of things to others. That was me too! It was hard for me to hand over something to another when I felt like it wouldn’t be done as good or that it would take me longer to explain to them how to do it than it would take for me to just do it myself!
To assist them, and you, I offer up here the starting point of how I began to delegate. There are five levels of delegation and as you work your way up the levels you exercise your delegation muscle more and more. My mantra for last year is applicable here… “Business moves at the speed of trust.” What I found is that I became more and more trusting as my delegates succeeded. Soon you too will find that you have off-loaded quite a bit, leaving you more able to focus on those things that require your unique core competencies.
Level 1: Do exactly what I have asked you to do. Don’t deviate from my instructions. I have already researched the options and determined what I want you to do.
Level 2: Research the topic and report back to me. We will discuss it, and then I will make the decision and tell you what I want you to do.
Level 3: Research the topic, outline the options, and make a recommendation. Give me the pros and cons of each option, but tell me what you think we should do. If I agree with your decision, I will authorize you to move forward.
Level 4: Make a decision and then tell me what you did. I trust you to do the research, make the best decision you can and then keep me in the loop. I don’t want to be surprised by someone else.
Level 5: Make whatever decision you think is best. No need to report back. I trust you completely. I know you will follow through. You have my full support.
There’s a big difference in authority between these levels. If you or your delegate are unclear about the scope, then clarify, clarify, clarify.
What to Delegate
To decide what to off-load, you must first do a quick self-assessment as to what you like to do and what you are competent to do. Ask yourself these three questions:
- What am I good at doing?
- What do I enjoy doing?, and
- Of all team members, what can only I do?
To help you get clarity, use this two-by-two matrix tool from Bryan Miles of Belay Solutions, a virtual assistant service:
Quadrant 2 – These activities should be delegated too.
Quadrant 3 – These are tasks that are tough for you to do, though you love doing them.
Quadrant 4 – these are your highest payoff activities – both for you and for your organization.
Plotting your activities in each of the four quadrants allows you to rank your work according to your level of passion (how much you enjoy a task) and your competence (how good you are at it). Once I plotted my activities on the matrix, I had a good idea of what I wanted to keep doing and what I definitely needed to stop doing.
YOUR ACTION STEP
Take 30 minutes to analyze your work flow and prioritize tasks based on the matrix. Identify which quadrant the tasks you do fall in to and then experiment with a delegation or two to build momentum. Calendar your Quadrant 4 items and see if you even have room in your week to do anything in Quadrant 3. If not, there’s a telling sign that you need to delegate more.
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