- Are you spending 60-70 hours a week in your business?
- Do you reserve all of the important daily tasks to yourself?
- Does your staff go home 2 hours before you?
If the answer to the above questions is “Yes”, then you should consider delegating some of your daily tasks to free up more of your time. Sounds simple, but we know this is easier to state than it is to implement.
WHAT TASKS TO DELEGATE
The better question to ask is “What activities should I be doing?” In short, you want to focus on the high value activities which require your exclusive time and energy.
Your first step should be to identify your hourly rate. How much is your time worth? For a standard 40 hour week there are 2000 hours in year (excluding 2 weeks vacation). The simplest step is to take your yearly salary divided by 2000 hours. For a salary of $100,000 this equates to $50/hr. For most business owners, there is additional value that should be added to your salary. For instance, what percentage of the business net income would you attribute to you? How much of the yearly benefits package should you add back into the salary? What percentage of the federal and state mandatory payroll taxes should be added back? It is not unreasonable for your hourly rate to increase by 50% above your base salary once you consider some of these other costs. The important point is to identify your hourly rate.
With your hourly rate defined (say $50/hr for this exercise), you can now identify the high value activities that justify that hourly rate. If you feel that the tasks justify $50/hr, then continue with that activity. If you believe the activity can be done by another person at a lower rate, then consider delegating the activity.
TO DELEGATE, OR NOT! THAT IS THE QUESTION!
“Why should I delegate the task? I can do it better myself.”
It is true that you could normally do a task better, but the real question should be “Is this the best use of my time?” Many owners and managers may “Fear” that no one could do the task better. They may even fear that the task will be incomplete or wrong. There may be a trust level with employees. While these may all be valid reasons in your mind, there are steps to overcome “fear” and instill “trust”.
HOW CAN I BECOME A BETTER DELEGATOR
With the activity to delegate now identified, you can begin the process of creating a seamless transition to another person. Part of that transition should be to clearly define the task. This may take additional effort to put the activity to “pen and paper”. List all of the steps you do today for the task. This is an important process step—most delegated activities fail because of misunderstanding of the activity and/or the overall objective.
Once you have listed the steps for the delegated activity, review the skills and resources required. Determine who within your staff has the skills and resources to complete the assignment.
SET CLEAR OBJECTIVES
Once you have reviewed the delegated activity with the person assigned, ask them to re-write the task in their own words. Set a defined completion date—use benchmarks and milestones to track more sophisticated projects. If you utilize “S-M-A-R-T Goals” in defining the objective, you will achieve a higher level of understanding and, more importantly, you will most likely get the task done with a higher level of quality and satisfaction.
For some delegated tasks, setting clear objectives, even if they are in writing, will not be enough. Delegating a task requires a higher level of communication. One process step, often missed, is the discussion of “Consequences” if the task is not completed in a timely fashion. This can be as simple as ensuring the person understands the value of the task to the organization as a whole. Consequences may also be tied to appraisals and performance reviews. Clear communication with the individual on the consequences is just as important as setting clear objectives with a defined date.
WE ARE A SMALL COMPANY, HOW CAN I DELEGATE
Delegation is not just for large companies. Smaller companies can delegate specific tasks. They need to consider using their professional network effectively. Accountants, attorneys, and suppliers can all provide quality services. Finding administrative assistants or virtual assistants may prove to be an effective use of time and dollars when it comes to delegation. If you are looking for specific professional help—college interns may be available through both normal and alternative internship channels.
Effective delegation is all about shedding tasks or activities that can be done at lower hourly rate. Reserve to yourself only those activities that provide high value to you and your business. If an activity can be delegated, then define the step-by-step process required to complete it. Set clear objectives with a defined completion date. Do not forget to discuss the consequences of not completing the task on-time. With effective delegation, you will free more of your time. This time can be spent on work activities—or just finding more time with your friends & family.
About the Author: Garrett Grega is a Certified Business Coach with FocalPoint Business Coaching in Branchburg, New Jersey, where he specializes in reconnecting executives, business owners, and managers with their business passions! He has 20+ years helping international companies launch new products and processes. He previously spent 8 years launching LED lighting products for various lighting companies. His professional experience includes: strategic planning, business development, marketing, and product development. See more at www.garrettgrega.focalpointcoaching.com