Okay, I admit it. I am terrible at delegating. Even when I'm totally swamped with work I hold on to the 'It is faster to do it myself' principle.
Right now I am really feeling the heat because my business has accelerated to the point where I can't do everything myself. We recently moved the ProCoach office to a larger space and installed a new computer network, a huge task that is still in process. We also had our financial year-end, so I am involved in closing the books. Our fall marketing campaign is underway which means promoting, organizing and presenting the "7 Success Accelerators Evening" in BC, Alberta and Washington. At the same time I am preparing to conduct a two day Inner Circle Retreat for a group of our elite members. The list is endless, and I am involved hands-on in all of it.
Stop the world, I want to get off!!!
You are probably wondering why I don't just get someone to help. After all, I have taught thousands of people in my coaching program the importance of delegation. If I realize I need to delegate in order to grow my business, why aren't I doing it? What makes delegation so hard?
I've been wondering the same thing myself. In the process I have identified a huge obstacle that is undermining my attempts to delegate successfully. It may also explain why so many small business owners struggle with this issue.
Here is my brilliant insight. If you wait until you are swamped with work before you begin the delegation process, you will probably fail. If you are control-oriented, as I am, when you are running flat out you do not have the time to find a competent person and teach them how to do the job to your standards. Better to do it yourself! On the other hand, if you are the type of person who tends to let go easily, under pressure you will most likely assign the task to someone else but fail to give that person the direction they need to succeed. Rather than delegate, you will probably abdicate. Over time both of these strategies will leave you worse off than when you started.
Regardless of your style, the key to success is to begin the delegation process long before you need the help. It is the groundwork, done well in advance, which positions you to delegate when things get busy.
If your business is growing and it is obvious that you are going to need assistance in the near future, don't delay. Start now by reviewing everything you do and listing the areas you can delegate. Next, decide which of these tasks you would like handled in-house by part-time or full-time team members and which tasks you can give to external contractors. Even if you are a solo operator, it helps to draw an organizational chart that identifies all the different roles and functions of your business. Begin documenting and systemizing the tasks you plan to delegate. Then, when you see the need for extra help on the horizon, start the delegation process early. This will give you time to find the right person and get them up to speed before the crunch comes.
If you are overwhelmed with work, as I currently am, it is too late to prepare. Now it is time for damage control. If you continue running out of control, eventually you will crash and burn. You simply must take the time to stop, breathe and prioritize.
Start by looking for things you are doing now that do not actually need to be done. When you are going flat out, it is normal to take on anything that gets in front of you. What are you doing that is not essential? For example, do you ever write emails that would never be missed if they were not sent? Where are you going overboard in your attention to detail or by setting unnecessarily high standards simply out of habit?
Also look for tasks that can be postponed. For example, as part of our office move we purchased new telephones. Our old phones were working fine, but I found myself compelled to spend an hour in the middle of my day installing the new ones. This could have easily been postponed for days without hurting our business. For that matter, my staff could have done it without my involvement at all.
Even when you are "too busy to delegate" there are some things that are obviously appropriate to give to somebody else. As my coach Jeffrey Kearney says, "If you take the time to look around you will always find low hanging fruit - tasks that you can delegate effortlessly." The challenge is to stop running long enough to identify them and give them away.
In summary, you will find it much easier to delegate if you get started well before you reach the critical point. If you are already run off your feet, make a commitment that as soon as sanity returns you will set aside some time and do the groundwork for delegation. That way, the next time the pace starts to increase, you will be ready to delegate some of your workload.
To your success!
Andrew Barber-Starkey, Master Certified Coach
Free Seminar Will Accelerate Your Small Business Success
If you have a desire to accelerate your business and personal results and you long for the taste of success; if you want to achieve your goals faster and with less effort... you need to know about "The Seven Success Accelerators".
Don't miss the free "Seven Success Accelerators" Seminars taking place during September in Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Surrey and Seattle.
In this inspiring, information-packed evening, Master Coach Andrew Barber-Starkey will reveal seven little-known secrets you can use to dramatically accelerate your business and personal results. These unconventional strategies are based on 18 years of research and have been proved effective by over 4000 small business owners, self-employed professionals and commissioned sales people. No matter what business you are in or how well it is doing today, you can achieve more and progress faster using these "Success Accelerators".
Click here for further information and registration.
Seattle - Wednesday, September 13
Edmonton - Monday, September 18
Calgary - Tuesday, September 19
Vancouver - Wednesday, September 20
Surrey - Monday, September 25
Registration for all events begins at 6:30. Seminars are from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m.
Hear Me LIVE and IN PERSON at the "Rich by 2010" Conference in Vancouver, September 30th & October 1st
As you know, I rarely speak at Conferences other than my own ProCoach seminars. I am pretty selective when it comes to that. However, when one of the mentors I most respect, DJ Richoux, approached me to present at his "Rich by 2010" Conference, I knew this was the right choice. After all, DJ is the President of BBT Events, and his company has been in business delivering high quality financial education Conferences to Canadians since 1989.
Having coached more than 4000 entrepreneurs to achieve their goals and dreams, the topic I will be presenting at "Rich by 2010" is "The Little-Known Secret to Getting Absolutely Everything You Want". I'll be sharing the stage with other big names like Derek Gehl (President and CEO of The Internet Marketing Center, known as the world's leading Internet Marketing authority), Alan Jacques (Founder of the Real Estate Investment Network/REIN and the Mind, Money and Wealth Seminar) and Ken Ballard (who recently spoke to the ProCoach members in Vancouver and received rave reviews). Read more about it here. Fabulous speakers and a great networking opportunity. You won't want to miss this, especially at the price!!!!
10th Annual SOHO SME Business Conference and Expo
Thursday, October 12 at Vancouver Trade and Conventions Centre
Here is another event I strongly support. The SOHO (Small Office/Home Office) Conference in Vancouver focuses entirely on small and home based businesses. Attendance at the main conference and tradeshow program is free!!! This event will be attended by over 3000 small business people and, in my opinion, is the best trade show and networking opportunity of the year!
Highlights include: Special Keynote Presentations, CEO/Entrepreneur Spotlights, Expert Panel Discussions, How-To Seminars, Ask The Expert Free Advice Centre, Roundtable Networking Sessions, Exhibits and Displays, and great networking for business. Click here for details. I'll see you there!
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Andrew Barber-Starkey is a Master Certified Coach residing in Vancouver, Canada. His coaching program, the ProCoach Success System, is designed for entrepreneurs, small-business owners, self-employed and commissioned sales people who want to double their income while simultaneously doubling their time off within 3 years.
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