I’ve harped and harped on delegation and how important it is in growing your business. There’s just one YOU, and if you’re ever going to grow your business into a self-sufficient entity, you have to delegate effectively. Part One of this is systematic – technique, in another word. I cover that here.
Remember the S.M.A.R.T. acronym?
Part Two, though, requires you to really dig in, believe delegation is going to work, trust your people and co-workers, set up the proper decision-making guidelines, and embrace this as part of your company’s ongoing values. THIS is the real magic in getting things going. I call this “The Dark Side” because you have to jump in with both feet. You MUST take that leap of faith and let go. Sort of like when you first started your business.
Back when I put together my Board of Directors at my telecom company, I was managing six different departments as CEO: Sales, Sales Administration, Operations, Technical Services, Finance, and Human Resources. The Sales Department really needed more attention than I was giving it because I was spread pretty thin. Sales needed to grow faster.
But lucky for me (was it luck, or had I just hired well?), I had an up-and-coming manager named “MJ”. MJ had worked his way up in the organization, embraced our values, had a strong work ethic, and had handled everything I had thrown at him like a champion. He had become my “go-to” guy in the company.
The Board recommended, and I agreed, that in order to boost sales and improve client relationships, I needed to be more active in the Sales Department, and that meant something had to give. That “give” was me “giving” MJ responsibility over everything EXCEPT Sales, Finance, and HR. It meant MJ would be in charge of all our business operations. He became our Chief Operating Officer or COO.
It also meant I had to jump in (to this new situation) with both feet, trust MJ to make the right calls, and let go. GULP! I was so used to being involved in all areas of the business! It wasn’t easy.
But…it worked. MJ was happy about the opportunity to grow, to have more influence in the company, and he felt challenged. Because I had built my business with effective Organizational Design, he knew exactly what areas he would be managing, and what was expected from each of them. He rose to the occasion and became a great leader.
Oh, and one other thing.
Since MJ was now managing people who had been my direct-reports, often times they would continue to come to me for advice, problem-solving, brainstorming, and so on. My first reaction would have been to help them immediately on the spot, but I knew this would undermine MJ’s authority and position. I gently but firmly encouraged them to strategize and talk with him about these issues.
It didn’t happen overnight, and it took discipline and consistency, but in the end, there were a number of benefits:
- My time was freed up to spend more time with salespeople and our customers. Sales grew.
- MJ grew into a fine leader in the company.
- He and my departmental managers created services and operational solutions I never thought of.
- Customers appreciated more attention from me, the owner of a small business, and better technical and operational solutions that they were then being offered.
- My company became more valuable – to our customers and to me.
How about you? Are you hogging the ball too much? Are you on the edge of taking the big leap and delegating some – or a lot – of your company to someone else? Are you worried, or do you need to discuss it?
Shoot me an email or comment below, and I’m happy to respond. Been there – done that.
And as always, I appreciate your shares and engagement. There are others like you who have the same questions and concerns. Trust me on this. They’ll appreciate you for asking or sharing.
Make it a great day!