Dare to Delegate!


*To help our readers navigate their businesses and organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are re-posting this relevant blog post from May 5, 2014

Do you find yourself saying any of the following?

  • If you want it done right, you just have to do it yourself!
  • It’s so hard to find good help these days!
  • This project is just too important to delegate!
  • By the time I teach someone, I could just do it myself!

If any of these statements sound familiar, it’s time to dare to delegate. Chances are, you’re spending too much time at work focusing on things that drain you.

Control Issues

Over the years of working with entrepreneurs, I’ve learned that many struggle with “letting go of the vine.” When you spend time, money, and resources growing a business – along with blood, sweat, and tears – it’s tough to hand any part of it over to someone else.

Many have “control freak” tendencies, believing that “only they can do it right.” As a result, you end up burning out or hitting a ceiling with the business. Here’s what can happen if you continue to hoard control:

  • You cannot attract or retain strong executives – which puts more pressure on you to produce more work as the business grows.
  • You’ll limit your business’s ability to scale which will devalue its worth in the marketplace since it’s too dependent on one leader.
  • You’ll inadvertently demean your people by limiting their ability to take action, execute, create, and show you what they’re capable of.

And there’s another reason why we want to hold on – it’s because we don’t always know how to translate that stuff we know intuitively into tools we can use to train, monitor, and ultimately trust others to do right.

Learning how to take wisdom and turn it into processes, procedures, and training requires a new skill or implementing a new system. I believe this is why the Entrepreneurial Operating System® (EOS®) is so popular with entrepreneurs today!

Let Go To Grow

Delegating is the first step to gaining control without the “freak” part! It’s impossible to let go of the vine without having the right people in the right seats, so hire the best and delegate to grow.

Delegating is simply working in the areas that use our talents, feed our soul, create value for the organization, and empower others to run the show. In contrast, we should be working less on activities that we’re not great at or passionate about and that don’t create value.

Business owners and leaders should ask, “Do I value myself as an entrepreneur, working ON the business enough, serving others with my unique gifts? Or am I spending too much time IN the business, doing low-value, nonessential activities?”

Discover Your Unique Ability

The goal is to work more and more within your God-given talents (similar to “Core Genius”). It’s your “sweet spot” or “secret sauce” of strengths, experience, and personality. It’s your key differentiator and the thing that makes you particularly brilliant at what you do!!

Working with our talents gives us more energy and passion for our jobs, and everyone benefits: customers, vendors, employees, owners, managers, leaders – EVERYONE!

No one else in the entire universe has our unique mix of experiences, talents, and personality. So how can we discover it and create better work/life balance? Find a tool.

Delegate And Elevate

As an EOS Implementer®, one of my favorite tools is Delegate and Elevate™.

If you’ll do this exercise regularly – at least twice a year – you’ll start to migrate job activities that don’t bring you energy or use your talents out of your work responsibilities, adding more and more of your unique strengths over time. We can also coach our people to do the same thing! Follow the 3-step instructions below:

1. Consider your role or job responsibilities

Identify all the working time you have available each week. Can you get your responsibilities done in the time you have set aside for work while having some balance as well? How many hours are realistic and sustainable? 40 hours/week? 50 hours/week?

If you can’t complete your responsibilities in that amount of time, then it becomes imperative to Delegate and Elevate – to reduce the load of activities that drain you and that you’re not good at.

2. Create a List of all your work activities

Take 30 minutes to list everything you do then enter those items into the following 4 quadrants:

  • LOVE the activity/GREAT at it (Core Genius possibilities here)
  • LIKE the activity/GOOD at it
  • DON’T LIKE/GOOD at it (95% of the world is stuck in this kind of job)
  • DON’T LIKE/NOT GOOD at it (Delegate or else!)

Reflect on the times when you’ve felt most empowered, when you’re most “on,” and when people have gained the greatest value from something you’ve said, done, or offered. These are probably activities in your LOVE/GREAT quadrant.

3. Delegate and Elevate

Over time, delegate the stuff in the bottom two quadrants and prioritize (elevate) the activities in the top two quadrants, moving closer and closer to your natural talents and abilities.

  • Finally select 1, 2 or 3 tasks that you can delegate in the next 90 days. Create a plan to chip away at low-payoff, nonessential tasks until you are doing less and less of those and more and more of what you are really great at and love to do!
  • TIP: Pick up a copy of The One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey, by Kenneth Blanchard, William Onchken Jr., and Hall Burrows, for a great delegation roadmap once you’ve done the discovery exercise above.

So, are you ready to do more of what fuels you and less of what drains you? Think Delegate and Elevate to your unique talents in everything you do! Hire the best!
And keep in mind what Andrew Carnegie said: “No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself or get all the credit for doing it.”

Next Steps:

  • Learn to make decisions faster and better by downloading a copy of our free eBook, Decide!
  • Download the Issues Solving Track™ from the EOS Toolbox™️ to learn how to IDS (Identify, Discuss, and Solve) issues more effectively.
  • Download the How to Be a Great Boss Toolkit to access free tools and resources to help you lead, manage, and create accountability on your team.

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