Delegate, Don’t Abdicate!

By AMBER ROY

There is one woman who truly helped me take delegation to the next level in my business, and her name is Laura Bechard. She was my life saver and business advisor during one of the most transformational years of my Entrepreneurial career. I was rapidly burning out and losing control of my business, and together we built and automated systems that turned my “monster” of a business into a well oiled machine.

Once I learned what I needed to delegate – I was a delegating machine! For a period of time, it was magical! I was delegating tasks to the team, and finally had some free time to focus on my personal life. But then everything started backfiring… None of the tasks I delegated to my team were getting done the way I wanted them to be done, or in the time frame I wanted them to be completed. In no time at all, I found myself fixing the “mistakes” of my team, and my frustration and irritation levels were at an all time high. I had to sacrifice my personal life once again, and I was back at square one.

 

WHY THE HELL WAS I PAYING THEM TO PERFORM THESE TASKS, ONLY TO RE-DO THEIR JOBS FOR THEM?!

One extremely important lesson Laura taught me while we worked on automating my business: “Delegation does not equal abdication.” So, I thought I’d bring in the expert herself to talk about how you can avoid one of the most costly mistakes I made while learning How to Delegate; abdication.

Calgary-Business-Coach

Thank you, Amber! Well, as you and I both know from experience – it certainly wasn’t the employees’ fault! Recruitment, on-boarding and employee development are certainly considerations that we should take in account. In addition to these considerations we also need to ask ourselves as business owners:

Do our team members know how we want the task completed?

What is their definition of “done” vs our definition of “done”?

I remember when I first started giving chores to my kids – they definitely didn’t “clean up their rooms” to the standard I expected right away. And if I’m being honest, my adult children most likely still wouldn’t define “clean room” the same way that I do.

It might be their attitude or motivation, but it is just as likely that there are some improvements that you could make to your systems and people development processes that will help you achieve a better result. Like Amber, there’s a very good chance you might have fallen into the “delegation by abdication” trap.

There are so many business owners that (unbeknownst to them) fall into this trap after hiring their first employee, or contractor. In the beginning, it’s normal to feel excited – finally free of the tasks you either disliked or lacked the expertise to properly perform. You hand over the task and it gets done, right? You’ve just managed by abdication rather than delegation.

Take a moment now and reflect on an area in your business that you’ve “delegated”, but find yourself constantly fixing problems or putting out fires related to the task in question. Now, take a moment to review the following checklist to identify areas where your delegation practices could improve:

  • Your staff had formal training or expertise in the area or task that was delegated.
  • You have a Standard Operating Procedure in place to explain how to complete the task.
  • You have examples, videos and other necessary support materials for them to follow.
  • You completed the task together until the employee was confident that they could perform it by themselves.
  • You had clear Standards of Performance so the employee knew what “good enough” looked like when compared to an all-star performance.
  • You checked in regularly when the team member started to perform solo.
  • You gave feedback on performance frequently and early during the early stages of delegation.
  • You trained staff to be able to meet or exceed the performance standard.
  • You recruited individuals who could follow instructions and take ownership of their actions.
  • You verified they had the expertise and competency before hiring them.
  • You provided positive feedback during the learning stage.
  • You provided constructive feedback to catch performance errors before they became habits.
  • You taught your team about accountability and ownership
Before-You-Delegate

Delegation is a critical skill if you are planning to scale up your business. You cannot do everything and grow. I wanted to give you 4 Simple Steps  Before Delegating Your Next Task:

  1. Document the correct way to perform this task. Step-by-step, including Quality Control Standards every step of the way.
  2. Clearly specify the expected result. Remember the classic – who, what, when, where, why and how!
  3. Have someone follow your steps, review and then make necessary adjustments. This will allow you an opportunity to address all confusion and fill the gaps. You don’t want to micro-manage, but make sure you are kept in the loop for performance purposes.
  4. Add the Task to Your Operations Manual! Once you are satisfied with the above documented tasks and processes, give it to the team member you want to delegate the task to, train them on the system and then add it to your Operations Manual.

Abdication can be dangerous for your business, your customers and your team. When you delegate, you are asking someone else to step in for you and thus, you remain accountable for the results. If you have selected the wrong person, that’s on you. If you don’t train and develop the person so they can more effectively and efficiently step in for you, guess what? That’s also on you.

So, the next time you want to play the “blame game”, think again! You are ultimately the one who is responsible.

 

The CTRL Lab helps small business owners create systems and business practices that automate operations to give them a more sustainable work / life balance.

 

How to Start Delegating

By AMBER ROY

In 2018, I learned how to delegate the hard way. I made expensive mistakes (because you can’t be an expert at everything). And I wasn’t using my team and business resources effectively or efficiently. (So essentially throwing money in the garbage.) I was the only one who could do the job right. Does this sound familiar? 

Without a doubt, delegation is something that nearly all new business owners struggle with. However, it is also a practice that, once learnt, will provide significant benefits to not only your business, but also to your personal life!

We created a Digital Delegation Worksheet to help you with this activity. Download it here !

 

STEP ONE : Creating a Task List

The first step in learning the art of delegation is awareness. It requires documenting and analysing the tasks that you already perform on a regular basis. Task monitoring can be tedious, but it’s a worthwhile practice! If you don’t know what needs to be done, how can you delegate it?

In this step, (using the worksheet provided) you will record the tasks you perform over the course of a day, as well as the amount of time it requires.

BONUS TIP : If you plan to permanently grow your team in the future, this task list can also be used later on to help you create a formal job description.

 

STEP TWO : Categorizing Tasks

Now it’s time to figure out what to delegate. Using our Task Optimization Chart below, you will need to sort the tasks you collected in the first step. Each task will be added into one of these categories. It’s possible that a task applies to one or more categories, but it’s important to choose which category it most applies to. Be brutally honest with yourself!

For example, if you’re a Lash Technician and you love to post on social media – but your efforts don’t deliver the results your business needs – this could fall into two potential categories: like, and weakness.

It’s going to depend on how much you actually like this activity. Would you do it as a hobby? Do you want to read books about social media? Watch movies about it? Spend your savings taking courses to learn more about social media? If it is truly something you are passionate about, put it into the like category. However, if social media doesn’t “light you up” the way we describe above – you might want to consider listing it as a weakness (which is not a bad word, by the way).

If you are a solopreneur, there will definitely be some non-negotiable tasks in the beginning stages of growing your business. Simply use a highlighter or different colour ink to identify these tasks. If you wish to grow your business, these are tasks that can be performed by an employee in the future.

For example, as an Electrician – you need to have the certification and education to actually perform electrical tasks or there could be serious health and legal repercussions.

 

STEP THREE : Task Analysis & Delegation

Finally! Let’s start delegating! You will need the task list you created from Step 1 to determine how much you need to delegate. At The CTRL Lab, our mission is to help small business owners create and maintain a healthy work/life balance. Using recent studies from Sweden, experts believe that work performance is best when following a 30 hour work week schedule (6 hours per day). However, you are welcome to use the traditional 40 hour work week formula for the purpose of this exercise. With a sustainable weekly time commitment in mind, it’s time to begin delegating the excess tasks.

 

  • First – we are going to delegate tasks in the weakness category. Hiring someone (whether it be an employee or contractor) with a complimentary skillset will be able to perform these tasks much better than you. 
  • Now, it’s time to get rid of things you don’t like! It is an injustice to yourself to continue to perform tasks that you don’t like. You will be happier and much more productive when you are doing tasks you are passionate about
  • Just because you are good at something, doesn’t mean you are passionate about it or particularly enjoy performing that task. That is when you delegate tasks in the strengths Your business likely directly benefits from you performing from these tasks, so it might be hard to let them go. However, it’s important to know that the real magic happens when you teach and empower a team to perform these tasks at the same level you have in the past.
  • And lastly; you never want to delegate the tasks you like, but it’s important to know when you should. When you find yourself exceeding a sustainable work schedule, (30 – 40 hours a week) it’s time to start delegating the tasks you enjoy. It’s not easy to delegate these tasks, but it is possible and it can be necessary. 

 

And there you have it! A hands-on guide showing you how to get started Digitally Delegating tasks within your business. We hope this helps you take the first step towards growing your business and achieving a more sustainable work/life balance.

 

The CTRL Lab is a group of Digital Delegation experts. We specialize in helping our clients identify opportunities to Digitally Delegate so that they can better focus on growing their business, rather than always working in it and struggling to get ahead. If you need a few tasks taken off your plate, we should talk!

 

Dragonfly Essentials

By AMBER ROY

When Tracy Lamacchia told us about her desire to bring awareness to mental health through her business, Dragonfly Essentials we were honoured to take part in refining her business brand and creating a simple solution that would allow her to connect with her customers on a social platform. We decided to use Facebook as she was most experienced with this platform, and it could easily gain support from her existing network. 

 We designed a brand board, then followed the brand guidelines to build custom elements for the Facebook page. We wrote a heartfelt section about how it all began, and created the first page post thanking her existing customer base for all of their support.

We then walked the client through Next Steps, and then we turned over access to Tracy as we continue to co-manage the page going forward. We look forward to continuing to build a meaningful brand with Dragonfly Essentials, and wish them continued success in their business!

 

The CTRL Lab helps small business owners create, develop and refine their business branding.

 

Small Business Specialists

By AMBER ROY

When Calgary Bookkeeping and Accounting company, Small Business Specialists asked us to help them create a Facebook page that would allow them to engage with their audience and generate leads through social media – we were more than excited to help them add the platform to their business toolbox!

We created the Facebook page, along with a custom header, placeholders for three showcase services, and their first post (which was actually a job posting).

Once complete, we turned over the platform to Kathleen and her team to manage going forward.

 

The CTRL Lab helps small business owners create, design and launch Facebook pages.