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Mastering the Art of Delegation

Yoda

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I've gotten better over the years, but I think the greatest lever I could pull at this stage in my life to substantially improve my business and the amount of free time I have would be the lever of delegation.

I actually feel compelled to put more effort into delegation than any other aspect of growth in my business, bar none.

Of course, I do have quite a few limiting beliefs here, founded on trust. Not because I've ever been burned, but because I place such high expectations on others to perform as I do, which is likely unrealistic.

I'm seeking whatever resources you have to help me aim my sights at the right targets, and get the most of my time and money.

I'd also be curious to hear what you feel you've gotten the greatest relief from, within business, by delegating.

So let me lay down what I've already come up with, process-wise, because this is what feels like the proper way to go about it might be:
  • Document everything I do. Not just to have a SOPs, but literally every detail of everything which gets done on a daily basis.
  • Take the list and refine it. Putting everything down on paper (or digitally) would allow me to see what actions warrant my time, and which ones don't, based on a.) how long they take, b.) how repetitive they are, c.) how crucial they are to my business, d.) how easily they could be handed off to someone else.
  • Delegate the least valuable, most time-sucking first. From the list, try to identify what I could most easily delegate to free up time, where an error here or there wouldn't be detrimental in any way.
  • Work my up up the list. As it warrants, start delegating more and more until I am basically an overseer.
This is overly simplistic, but my business model isn't overly complicated.

I've read 4HWW, obviously TMF and Unscripted, and a couple other books. I've recently begun "Who" by Geoff Smart as hiring my "replacements" is first and foremost a people problem, not a process or product problem.

What am I missing?

What are some common pitfalls?

What hires or delegations did you make which drastically helped you step forward?
  • Virtual assistant?
  • Project manager?
  • Marketer?
  • Writer/Copywriter?
  • Social strategist?
  • Product developer?
  • Artist?
  • etc.?
 

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Rabby

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Sounds like you're doing it right to me. I recommend adding controls to your list. In other words, once you've documented the procedures, you need to find ways to make them self-fulfilling, self-supervising, or at least easy to supervise or audit.

A very simple example is requiring a checklist. There are lots of other options too, such as weekly reports, redundancy (a person responsible if another person can't do the job), a performance chart in the breakroom, a business dashboard that shows progress on tasks, incentives based on doing certain things a certain way, etc.

At one point I delegated software development and server maintenance, which were taking up more than half of my working time. That's almost the reverse of what you're talking about, delegating the least valuable things first. I had to pay someone a lot of money. But my logic was that I was less efficient at those things than someone who does them full time. It worked out well, and freed up a lot of time to grow the business(s).
 
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Yoda

Yoda

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That's almost the reverse of what you're talking about, delegating the least valuable things first.
That's actually a great point, and, coincidentally, I was just watching a video on Delegating Up.

In other words, hire for something you can't do and you'll save time and frustration, all the while getting an end product or result you couldn't have otherwise gotten on your own.

I think there's likely a balance there.
 

Rabby

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That's actually a great point, and, coincidentally, I was just watching a video on Delegating Up.

In other words, hire for something you can't do and you'll save time and frustration, all the while getting an end product or result you couldn't have otherwise gotten on your own.

I think there's likely a balance there.
I like that term, delegating "up" vs "down" I guess. When I've delegated something that I'm especially good at, my goal is to get someone doing it 80% as well. From there they will improve just by doing it, or I can design a system that compensated and puts them at 100%. Eventually, with systems and controls and good people, they'll be as good or better at the job than I was.
 

MHP368

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This is a huge thing for me right now , one trap i've found is i'll read some blogs about some concept thats actually fundamental to my business and I need to know how to implement and then...instead of doing it myself first I immediately out of laziness try to outsource it.


No, no and no. Its one thing if ts something so far out of my wheelhouse that the time to learn and do wouldn't be worth it (graphic design comes to mind, and actual html coding - I can look at the code and know where it starts talking about video or a footer but I couldn't code it myself) , quite another thing not to do a little grunt work up front out of sheer laziness. The reason I say this is a pit trap is because if I havent attempted something then whats my metric for judging if it was done well when delegated? and what happens when something breaks? I just rely eternally on hirelings?


I remember when I worked at subway at age 15, we had a call out one shift and the multimillionaire owner (he owned over 70 locations at this point) showed up at my store, sliced tomato and made sandwiches with me, and he wasn't a drag on productivity! , so I try to keep that in mind, it might be some seemingly simple task thats just not worth my time but if I havent physically done it all that book learning isn't going to actually stick.

  • Document everything I do. Not just to have a SOPs, but literally every detail of everything which gets done on a daily basis.
  • Take the list and refine it. Putting everything down on paper (or digitally) would allow me to see what actions warrant my time, and which ones don't, based on a.) how long they take, b.) how repetitive they are, c.) how crucial they are to my business, d.) how easily they could be handed off to someone else.
  • Delegate the least valuable, most time-sucking first. From the list, try to identify what I could most easily delegate to free up time, where an error here or there wouldn't be detrimental in any way.
  • Work my up up the list. As it warrants, start delegating more and more until I am basically an overseer.
Seems like solid criteria. As a bit of an aside its sort of a nuisance sometimes working with all these third world upwork / legiit / fiverr types. Some bug me all the time for more work, some of them don't understand the platform or make bizarre requests. Its very much a managing people experience even for little one off projects.

I have 4 projects active right now so I've slowly chiseled out a few rockstars for particular tasks (this one brazillian kid I've been giving jobs too all week is like a jack of all trades, front end / back end , he's fluent in SEO, graphic design is passable etc, and he wants half of what the equivalent skillset is for a functional adult from india - so its good to have a go to guy with a wide berth of skills)

but like I said above just make sure its actually "least valuable , most time sucking" and not "ickiest looking and most boring task that you just want to avoid ever having to do", even if you aren't a solopreneur as owner it really is on you to fully understand the business functioning.
 
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Yoda

Yoda

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(this one brazillian kid I've been giving jobs too all week is like a jack of all trades, front end / back end , he's fluent in SEO, graphic design is passable etc, and he wants half of what the equivalent skillset is for a functional adult from india - so its good to have a go to guy with a wide berth of skills)
This is actually exactly what I would not look for.

I'd much rather hire for each individual task/job and not create a dependency on one person, but also elect specialists who are the best at what they do.

At the same time, assuming one person either leaves or is terminated, I need to be able to accurately replace that one job without needing to suddenly find a jack-of-all-trades once again.

Think about it...

If your guy is suddenly out the door, you need to replace exactly him, or find all the people for all the tasks he did.

That's going to slow things waaaay, way down.

On the other hand, if you had 6 people doing all these and one person left/was terminated, you still have 5 of 6 tasks/jobs being done, and you know exactly what to look for in a replacement.

All of this assumes a business large enough to scale to handle all these people.

If you're pretty small business and one hire can do it all, that's great, but I'm looking at scaling up.
 

Dianne Cohen

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  • Delegate the least valuable, most time-sucking first. From the list, try to identify what I could most easily delegate to free up time, where an error here or there wouldn't be detrimental in any way.

For me, I also delegate the energy sucks. The things that I disliked the most.
 

Tiago

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I've heard good things from Strategic Coach, by Dan Sullivan. Their whole focus is to create a Self-Managing Company, where you create a system in which everyone is working on their Genius Zones.

They also use the Kolbe test before hiring anyone, to see HOW a person operates and solves problems, and if that's aligned with the what the company needs.

Maybe you can check them out. Here's the website.
 
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Yoda

Yoda

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Quick progress report to this train of thoughts...

I created a spreadsheet of the 5 most important tasks for the:
  1. Day
  2. Month
  3. Week
Within each section, the idea is to list out the 5 tasks in each respective time period which is:
  • Mandatory
  • Measurable
  • Mine
In other words, if I had a "perfect" day and knocked out all 5 things, it was a perfect day. In the same way, if I had knocked out 5 weekly tasks or 5 monthly tasks, it was also perfect.

In the columns to the right of those tasks, a simple question:

Can this be delegated? If so, to who?

Next to that, a column for:
  1. Hours Saved
  2. Cost
  3. $/hr.
Ideally, here's what this accomplishes for me and my business.

I'll know how to "buy" perfect days, weeks, and months for my business at exactly what rate. When I've removed myself from working in the business, I can start taking a second look at all these and asking myself the most important question:

How do I scale this up, and scale costs down?
 

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