If DIY is your CEO mantra, you’re doing it wrong.
A manager’s role is two-fold: to increase productivity and to raise up the next generation of leaders in the organization. Delegating ensures that more tasks get done in less in time, but also builds that critical team capacity necessary for effective succession planning. When done correctly, delegation allows everyone to move on to higher things. When it fails, progression becomes dependent on bringing in “experts” from the outside.
Are you a successful delegator? If not, you’re not alone. Most managers take a few steps toward effective delegation, and then, when the task isn’t completed to their satisfaction or the system seemingly breaks down, retake control of the task. It’s a hard habit to break for the often too busy, classically over-committed CEO. The end result is actually counter-productive. CEOs spend far too much time and energy on tasks they don’t like and are not within their particular skill set. Sound familiar?
I recently covered the topic of delegation in an internal training for our BGW team. As you may know, our firm utilizes EOS®, the Entrepreneurial Operating System®, which is a set of simple concepts and practical tools that assist entrepreneurs in completing their missions. EOS® helps us to visualize our goals, execute our vision, and build our leadership team. (Our monthly seminars are often designed around EOS® concepts, in an effort to help you build the same framework for your company.) In this seminar, I covered the seven root causes of delegation issues, as laid out in a recent EOS® blog posting by Mike Paton. With the exception of one, all of these issues can be solved without help from your team and organization.
- It’s all you. Perfectionist tendencies, trust issues, lack of patience in developing your management team -- on and on we could go -- are major roadblocks to delegation. Honestly look at yourself and your tendencies. Are you getting in your own way?
- Know your vision, and make sure everyone else does, too. A strong vision component ensures that everyone in your company, without question, is on the same page with where you are going and how you plan to get there. What you do, why you do it, and what’s important -- for today and every next day -- must be at the forefront of everyone’s mind. Clarity around company vision allows team members to take tasks from you and successfully complete them.
- Surround yourself with the “right people”. Right people share your core values, understand their jobs, and consistently excel. They make delegation easy by putting your mind at ease.
- Know your numbers. Strong data allows you to run your business on absolute facts and figures. At every level of the organization, individuals must have at least one number that needs to be kept on track, week in and week out. If one number is off, you know where the issue lies and can move to resolve it. This will make it much easier for you to loosen your grip on the reins.
- Master the issues. Everyone on your team should be skilled in naming the issues before the organization, then prioritizing and resolving them for the long-term greater good. EOS® utilizes a system called the Issues- Solving Track ™(IDS) that will make that happen. And when it does, you can be confident that every team member in the company is capable of handling what’s been given to them.
- Develop the process (then write it down). Documented, simplified, and approved core processes in your organization are your secret weapon. Developing them allows you to know that everyone who touches even a step in those processes has been trained. Actions and results can be measured throughout the organization. When people aren’t following the process, corrective action can be taken.
- Get a grip. A strong Traction Component™ means everyone in the company is targeting a clear set of priorities, and those priorities align with the company vision. Team members are disciplined about, and accountable for, completing those priorities every week. Fewer balls will be dropped, and your confidence will soar.
If you’re struggling with delegation, look in the mirror first, and work to strengthen one or more of the remaining six points. The delegation process becomes faster and more fluid the more you do it, so do not despair if you get off to a bumpy start. I assure you, once you’ve mastered it, it will become a part of your managerial DNA, and you’ll consistently reap outstanding results.