When an entrepreneur wants to take their business to the next level, they must learn to delegate.
In a growing company, a leader who can’t or won’t delegate cannot keep up with the velocity to rise to the top. Instead, they “hit a ceiling” and get stuck there. Instinctively they know they can’t do it all, but letting go of things can feel scary and counterintuitive. But, like most things in life, having the right companion can help you let go of the vine more easily.
Using the Four Quadrant Model
I encourage leaders who run on EOS® to use the Delegate and Elevate™ tool. This exercise helps clearly identify what Strategic Coach® founder Dan Sullivan calls an individual’s Unique Ability®. It works like this: Clients look back two or three weeks and list ALL the activities they typically do. Then they distribute every item on the list to one of these four quadrants:
1. Things I love to do and excel at doing
Welcome to the sweet spot in the upper-left quadrant, the place where your Unique Ability gets the chance to shine! Time becomes meaningless and you experience natural expressions of innovation, productivity, and effectiveness.
2. Things I like to do and can do well
Items in the upper-right quadrant can feel pleasant enough. They may not light up your day, but they take considerably less effort to accomplish than lower-quadrant items.
3. Things I don’t like to do but can do well
These items in the lower-left quadrant can eat a person alive. Just because you can do these tasks well doesn’t mean you like them, which creates true drudgery. This is where good entrepreneurs go to die!
4. Things I don’t like to do and stink at doing
Affectionately dubbed the “Suck Bucket,” these tasks in the lower-right quadrant represent the worst part of your day. You suck at doing them and they suck the life out of you.
While it may take some time to reconfigure workloads, ideally you should strive to delegate any items in the lower two quadrants. Depending on the role, this isn’t always possible, but minimizing these tasks can bring real job satisfaction.
A Little Help from My …
Recently, one of my clients relayed an interesting approach to the Delegate and Elevate exercise. Instead of the Visionary owner completing it alone, they worked alongside their Integrator™ and made it a team project.
They sorted activities in the Delegate and Elevate tool alongside each other, seeing more clearly what belonged in each quadrant. By taking the time to categorize and vet activities together, they fast-tracked the process of getting on the same page.
Plus, because they complement each other so well, their upper and lower quadrants almost perfectly flip-flopped. This allowed an especially humble Visionary to stop feeling guilty about spending more time on their upper-quadrant activities. They could admit what they didn’t like to do and confidently hand off items that appeared in the Integrator’s upper quadrants.
While every Visionary/Integrator™ Duo is unique, this exercise might help two leaders discover how to best work together. The Rocket Fuel Power Index provides another great way for Visionaries and Integrators to get on the same page.