Unlocking Growth: My 4 Lessons On Effective Delegation For Entrepreneurs & Founders – #0016

When we first set up our business in 2011, like many Founder / Operators we had to do EVERYTHING ourselves. We trialled software, prepared our bookkeeping, went on client visits, and grabbed the teabags on the way back to our garage based temporary office. It was non-stop.

 

Depending on where you are on your entrepreneurial journey, you like me, have either spent years doing everything yourself…or are about to enter a period where you where all the hats. If you bootstrap your business, it’s unavoidable, and (I think) an essential part of the process to eventually be able to understand every facet of your operation.

 

But…there comes a time. A time where you must start to hand these tasks to others. To build a 7 or 8 figure business, you are going to need the support of a team.

“I’ll Quickly Just Do It Myself”

That was my problem. Even with our first 10-15 hires, I and the other Founders seemed to still be running around and doing most of the smaller tasks ourselves. I was particularly bad at thinking “I’ll quickly just do it myself”. I need to explain, this wasn’t from an arrogant “no-one can do it as well as me” mindset. It was simply that I often felt bad asking others to do things that in theory I “could” do for myself.

 

I did it for a number of years, and looking back this was crazy. My time was taken thinking about and operating parts of the business I shouldn’t have been involved with. This essentially meant the whole team suffered as I couldn’t assist with the bigger, more strategically impactful parts that would have benefitted everyone.

My 4 Big Learnings

Over the past 13 years, here are my 4 big learnings when it comes to delegation as a Founder / Operator. I hope you find something valuable here:

 

1 People WANT to be delegated to.

If they don’t, you may have hired the wrong person. Think about it, imagine being a new starter in company and after a year your “boss” hasn’t given you any new tasks or things to develop or stretch you. Every time you ask for something new, they are running around, stressed and not able to sit with you and work out a development plan because they are fixing a printer. I had to work hard to reframe delegation in my mind, the right hires WANT new things to stretch them and develop their careers. They see it as a gift. Once you see it this way, it makes delegation far easier.

2 “But they will make mistakes.”

Yes, they will, as you did. But it’s how they learn…the same way you did. A task 80% “done well” and done by someone else, is better than 100% perfect and done by you.

3 Delegation is important not just to save your time, but also your interest.

Most people see delegation as something that simply frees up your time, but you can also delegate (or hire in) people to complete the tasks that you hate doing. That’s a luxury you can afford yourself later, after years or HAVING to do it. Protecting your interest and motivation is just as important for the business as protecting your time. This was a “mind blown” realisation for me.

4 The follow up is everything.

You need to develop a system that ensures everything that is delegated is followed up on. Outlook, a diary, a spreadsheet – it doesn’t matter, but the minute people get conformable with the knowledge that you won’t follow up, is when people start becoming selective about actioning what they’ve been asked to do. And that’s a no-no.

So, for you and your business to grow, along with the careers and lives of everyone connected to your operation, it might be time to starting thinking “Who, Not How”.

 

 

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