Dare to Delegate

Article by Joan FriedlanderWhy delegate? If you are serious about growing a profitable, thriving business you need help. And, the help you receive needs to be the best you can afford so you can rely on the people you hire.

Following are the basic operating principles that, when followed, help you leverage your skills and time so that you can continue to grow your business without working more and more hours.

1. Spend 70-80% of your time doing what you do best so that you can:

  • Develop mastery
  • Get paid top dollar
  • Have lots of fun earning a living
  • Work fewer hours

2. Delegate anything you can that prevents you from focusing on your highest priority activities.
3. Get paid for results, not your time.
4. Replicate yourself in order to expand your reach and make more money without personally investing your time.

Why don’t people delegate? What are the most common reasons?

The #1 reason: “It’s easier to just do it myself.”
Reason #2: “It’s hard to find good help (so it’s easier to do it myself).”
Reason #3: “I can’t afford it.”
Reason #4: “I don’t have enough work to give someone on a regular basis.”

Stop. Take yourself off automatic pilot for a few minutes. Take a look at those statements. Are any of them really true? Are they based in abundance and faith, or fear and lack? What impact are they having on your results? Are they stopping you from having the business you want? Do they keep you working the hard, long hours you say you don’t want? Are there some things you will hire help for, and others you stubbornly hang on to? What makes the difference?

Benefits of Delegation

  • Delegation can free you up to concentrate on projects that require your personal knowledge/skill, or your expertise.
  • If you have employees, effective delegation builds skills, confidence, and loyalty. They feel they are an important part of your business success.
  • If you are solo and work with subcontractors for specific tasks, it helps share the wealth with other business owners. More people are successful because you are.
  • Delegating tasks will then mean you have more time to plan the future and to remain competitive.
  • These are some of the business reasons. Personal reasons include more free time, improved quality of life, real vacations where you can turn off your phone and stop checking email, even passive income.

Beyond improved efficiency, productivity and performance, delegation is about leadership and it’s an essential act of abundance. When you keep all the work to yourself, the personal costs are somewhat obvious. But the ability to expand to include the contribution of others may be the real opportunity of delegation.

When you allow others to take on ownership of certain aspects of running your business — or delivering service — you immediately expand the economic welfare of another. When you go a step further and allow them to tap into their own ideas, talents, and skills to make that particular function even better, you expand the confidence, joy, and potential contribution of another.

The need to delegate may start with your self-serving interests, and I certainly support those as well. I’m all for more free time, for leveraging your talents to expand your income, and for a much easier way of life. But I find that focusing on fears stops many from changing the way they run their business and their life, so I offer you another way to look at this opportunity. Delegation and replication are not-so-random acts of generosity and kindness.

Four Ways to Build Your Team

Once you decide you need to build your team, you are ready to decide if you should hire employees or independent contractors, or form alliances with other business owners. Depending on the functions or tasks you’ve decided to delegate, this can be an easy decision, or one that requires some strategic considerations. There may be several factors you want to think about before you decide:

1. What is your long-term vision for your business?
2. What is the best organizational structure for long-term growth in your industry?
3. What level of ongoing freedom (or mobility) do you want?

Your well-considered answers to these questions may impact the decisions you make today in significant ways. Your vision and goals should include your values, desire for freedom or mobility, and the impact you want to have in the world. Your impact can include market share, reach, and personal engagement.

There are four different avenues you should consider for delegation. You may have utilized a couple of these options and not be fully aware that you’ve made a choice of one option over another. Or, you may play one of these roles yourself in a business you work with. Here they are:

Option 1 – Hire employees that commute to and work from your “office.”

This is a well-known model that has been utilized by companies for decades. Employes report to you, they perform work primarily based on your standards, and receive W2 salaries.

Option 2 – Hire employees that work virtually in their own location.

The key objective of a virtual corporation is to provide for ultimate adaptability and flexibility, the key emphasis is on [what is generally termed as] empowerment and self-control of the employees. In this new model of work, the employees are expected to make decisions and judgments based on the demands of the specific situation. Given greater responsibility of the employees, such organizations are focusing on developing their judgmental ability.

The key issue in both cases is keeping the channels of communication open for allowing the exchange of issues related to values and then hoping that the values are strong enough to drive out the need for continuous “monitoring” in the traditional sense.

Option 3 – Hire subcontractors or consultants to perform specialized services or provide consultative services (outsourcing).

Purchasing a functional service for the company from another business. Types of services commonly outsourced are payroll, taxes, and advertising.

An independent contractor is a person or a business that follows an independent trade, business, or profession in which they provide goods or services to the public. The business contracting for their services must have the right to control or direct only the result of the work and not the means and methods of accomplishing the result. In other words, they contract for certain work to be done, but do not tell you when, where, or how to do the work.
The term independent contractor is often used interchangeably with the terms vendor, freelancer, and consultant.

A consultant is someone brought in for a limited time to solve one or more specific problems. This can be done under a contract for a specific problem or on a longer term contract for ongoing needs related to a problem.

Option 4 – Form strategic alliances with other businesses or consultants.

Two or more companies coming together to strengthen their capabilities by sharing resources, skills, and/or expertise to do what neither could do on their own.

A strategic alliance is a partnership between businesses in which you combine independent efforts. This joint effort can involve anything from getting a better price for goods by buying in bulk together to seeking business together with each of you providing part of the product. The basic idea behind strategic alliances is to minimize risk while maximizing your leverage in the marketplace.

For small businesses, strategic alliances are a way to work together with others towards a common goal while not losing individuality. Alliances are a way of reaping the rewards of team effort — and the gains from forming strategic alliances appear to be substantial. Companies participating in alliances report that at much as 18 percent of their revenue comes from their alliances.

Choosing the Right Delegation Option

Option Advantages Disadvantages
Hire Employees to Work at Your Office Delegation, lower cost per hour, control, expansion, communication, meetings Overhead, payroll, taxes, worker’s comp, privacy if in your home
Hire Employees to Work Virtually Lower overhead, greater individual responsibility, privacy, flexible schedule, eliminate commute distress and time, greater geographical reach (which gives you more choice when considering skills and competence) Less direct control, communication, meetings, connecting technology, training
Use Contractors and Subcontractors Minimal tax responsibility, reduced equipment expense, flexibility, less turn-over, creativity, less commitment to the person Communication, meetings, increased dollars/hour, sharing their time (which could mean unpredictable availability)
Strategic Alliances and Partnerships Less control, changing priorities, imbalanced contribution Increased reach, shared databases, complimentary capabilities, shared responsibility

There are several levels to every delegation choice and how much you choose to delegate in any situation can depend on:

  • The skill level of the person you delegate to
  • The level of responsibility for decision-making you wish to delegate
  • Your need to stay involved with the task

Steps to Effective Delegation

  1. Use the Delegation Planning Worksheet to help you prepare.
  2. Choose the right people to delegate to.
  3. In a gradual, patient, orderly way, allow those people to succeed so you can let go.

Like I said at the beginning, if you want to build a profitable thriving business without working more and more hours, you’ll do so more successfully and or easily with people on your team. Even if you’re delegation-shy, when you stop to plan and think about who you want to delegate to and can effectively prepare, you’ll get much better results. Then, there’s no stopping you!

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