Since June 2011 I’ve had the great honor of being the “Delegation Expert” in a series of guest blog posts for Lisa Robbin Young’s Direct Sales Classroom. Each month I share another step in the process of getting comfortable with delegation. This post is the first in the series, I will be re-posting the series each month for you here, but if want to get up-to-date on these and other great guest bloggers visit Lisa’s site the Direct Sales Classroom.
If you’ve ever wondered, “What, to whom, how or when do I delegate?” or “How do I know what to “entrust” someone else to do?” you’re in the right place. Delegation does not need to be a complicated or overwhelming process, but in order to grow and succeed in your business it does need to happen.
What to Delegate:
What do you delegate? When you look at your to-do list, if you have one, do you dream of handing the entire list over to the first person that walks by your paper-filled desk? Step back and let’s look at that list a little more carefully, or, if you’re beating yourself up for not having one, let’s create a to-do list.
What tasks make up your business? Which ones are the most time-consuming? What tasks do you “dread” doing? Do some seem “tedious” to you?
When doing this exercise together, some of my clients list items like these:
- Sending customer or team newsletters
- Sending birthday cards
- Entering orders
- Tracking inventory
- Updating contact information
- Maintaining a database
- Sending invites
- Managing customer service follow-up
These are just a few examples, and your list may be different. No worries. Bring your list along as we move to the next questions:
- Do YOU personally need to handle each of these tasks?
- Does the activity on your list require a skill or knowledge that you alone possess?
For example, you may like to include a personal note in each of your birthday cards, because you have a strong connection with your customers and you like to express that. That’s great, and it’s true that only you know what to include as a personal message. But is it important that you also personally write, address, stamp and mail that card? Are you sure?
Choose a task you are considering delegating, and the next time you work on it, use a simple kitchen timer (or an online one like http://www.online-stopwatch.com/) to see how long it takes you to finish. Did it take longer or shorter than you thought it would? Either way, I want you to consider whether or not if that is that the highest and best use of your time? What else could you do with that time?
Staying with our example, even if it is NOT the most efficient use of your time, it may still be important to you to hand write all of the birthday cards. That is FINE: this is YOUR business and, as the business owner, you get to determine how you spend your time. However, if you add up the time it takes you to personally handle all the tasks on your list, does that time add up to what it would take you to host an additional party or two? Or recruit a new team member?
Repeat this process a few times and see where your time is being spent. Then carefully consider what tasks really require you to personally handle them. Obviously, activities need to be assigned to someone you trust and we’ll get to that…. Next month…. When we discuss the “Who” of delegation.