Is Delegation A Skill Or Tool?
I think the art of delegation is a skill, and delegation is an essential tool for any small business owner. Let's discuss both of these perspectives.
The Art Of Delegation
Delegation is made to be a time saver. At its core, delegation allows each person to maximize their strengths. In order to properly delegate, you must know how to do what you are delegating. This does not mean you have to know everything, but you must be able to convey what you want. This is why some people are not meant to be a manager.
One of my biggest mistakes is not giving specific delegation. You must be able to sit on your idea or plan for a little while to create the "why" behind the "how" and "what". Then, as you review this with your team you can create a checklist of items that walks them through how to do what you want after they know the why behind it.
Building A Team
Building a team has a few essential components. One of them is to write out a list of everything your company needs to do on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis. What are the tasks to do what you need to do. Then organize those into a team member. What strengths are needed for that team member to have to do those tasks. Once you identify these, then and only then can you begin looking for your team.
Your goal in building a team should be to compliment each other with pieces that complete the puzzle. You want each person to make the whole better. Sometimes a bad apple will be created over time and other times a person's talent may be overgrown as the company grows. These are growing pains that are part of it.
However, at the end of the day, what you will see as you build your team is that ideas turn into active assets quicker. The marketing campaign that used to take 6 months to get off the ground is ready in 3 weeks. The new product line is done in 5 months as opposed to a year or more.
Now, for folks that are just getting started and don't have any team members, use outsourcing companies for certain tasks. Some ideas are receptionist companies to help intake calls, screen calls and handle the phones while you spend your time doing the actual work. There are local companies to your region as well as national companies. Call Ruby is a company that many of our peers have used for both daytime calls as well as night time calls. You can also outsource big mailing or packaging tasks to an assistant company. One that is fantastic is Help Without Hassle.
The whole goal of outsourcing is to be able to do more work and produce more of whatever it is that you do. Make sure to select the company slowly and cut ties quickly if it is not working out.
When Do You Stop?
Delegation should continue to increase until you are doing only the things that only you can do. This means that you are maxing out your productivity and performance each and every day because you have built a team. Unfortunately, this will continue until and unless you begin to scale back the business. Otherwise, each direction the team goes, you will need to be able to develop a plan, delegate its pieces, and monitor the progression at a high level.
My best advice is to let your team be their own experts at their strengths. Let that be their thing. Trust me, they will appreciate it and you will reap the rewards. I like to know that my team is comprised of folks that want to be their best and want to continue to learn more about how to be even better at what they do.