Meadow CreekNews

Selecting Tasks to Delegate

Filed under Business Management, Small Business, Venture Capital and Start Ups on December 3, 2008

Deciding what task and decision making you should let go of and pass on to others may be the easiest part of the process. You have more than likely already made those decision and you remind yourself of those decision every day along with a lot of other people. What am I talking about you say. Ask yourself the following questions and you will probably have a really good start to give away pile.

  • What things that you haven’t done keep you up at night?
  • What do your customers complain about?
  • What do your vendors complain about?
  • What does your CPA complain about?
  • What do your employees complain about?

If you are loosing sleep and other people are complaining, there is an excellent chance that the problem is things that you have neglected to do, don’t like to do or don’t do well. The fact that you think about them or others are thinking about them means these are things that need to be done and need to be done well. Sure, you’ve survived so far without paying attention to this stuff and probably done quite well. But if you are going to take your business to the next level or just afford yourself some additional time and peace of mind, it’s time to start paying attention to these details.

Unfortunately, this list contains those things that aren’t really getting done today that somebody needs to do. That means you aren’t going to save any of your time by delegating these responsibilities, although you may sleep better at night.

The next step in the process is to find out where you are spending your time doing things other people could do as well or better. To keep the process simple, let’s try narrowing it down from the top this time. Make a list of the things that happen in your business that absolutely positively require your involvement. Some of the criteria for this elite list of duties might include:

  • Expenditures of certain amounts of money.
  • Pricing of significant proposals.
  • Decision regarding employees.
  • Decisions involving long-term contracts or commitments.
  • Decisions involving critical customers.
  • Actions and decisions that require skills and knowledge that only you have.

If you are a one-person organization or a small business, the threshold for these criteria will be lower than for larger firms. That means that this list alone may be a full-time job. Over time, you will want to develop an organizational capacity to handle more of this list, but that is another initiative all together.

The next list is what is left over. You now have to look at the list of things you must be involved with and determine how much time that takes each day. If you are working on new initiatives form a business or strategic planning process, you need to include time for those activities as well. If not, it’s time to scrub the list again.

In that case, it is often helpful to list the things that are done that really don’t need to be done. The larger the organization, the larger this list will be. While large corporations have made the mandate of non-value added activities an art form, smaller businesses tend to keep these items in check. None-the-less, a periodic review of activities does ensure that people are not wasting their time doing things that are of little or no value.

Managers, in large businesses and small, tend to underestimate the capability of people in the organization. Managers tend to be unaware of half of what their subordinates are doing on a daily basis and if they did know, would be very impressed. People will appreciate the show of confidence when new responsibilities are given to them. They also tend to rise to the occasion and will work hard to make it happen if you give them the chance. Don’t forget that with additional responsibility should also come additional reward.

Now it’s time to decide what to do. It may be a matter of funding. If you have no one else to delegate the list to, outsourcing it will cost money. What is the expected gain of taking care of these items? Consider the source of possible economic return.

List 1 – Those things that aren’t getting done that need to be done

  • Improved customer relations.
  • Higher quality service.
  • Improved vendor relations.
  • Better bookkeeping and record keeping.
  • Improved employee morale and lower turnover.
  • A good nights’ sleep.

List 3 – Those things that are getting done that you do not have to be involved with

  • Higher quality decision making on your part on List 2 items.
  • Sufficient time for you to work on Business Plan actions.
  • Time for important things in your life other than work.

If your business is like most, the opportunity for growth created by higher quality customer service and more focused effort on other growth programs is tremendous. Like anything else you’ve done with your business it takes a little faith and confidence, but the payoff is there.

At Humerlis, we can help guide you through this process. We can also provide many of outsourcing needs to make you more productive, your business more successful and your life more rewarding.

Richard Gabel

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