Last week I explained how a new member of our team posed this question to me – “What do YOU do?”
So let me ask you the same question. You cannot answer, director, shareholder, owner or any such title. What do you actually do day to day in your business? It’s an interesting and revealing exercise. The next question then has to be – “who else can do each of the tasks that you have just described?”.
As we go into the holiday period and you have a few weeks or days or hours to yourself to think about your life, it is good to take that step back from your business, and ask yourself this:
“If there are other people in my business who can do exactly what I do, why am I am I still doing it?”
You are probably working hard, possibly longer hours than you or your family want, so why do you fill your days doing what someone else could be doing perfectly well in your place?
I have had this conversation so many times over the years. Here are some of the reasons that I have been given.
- I don’t have anyone I can delegate to as they are already too busy.
- It is quicker for me to do it
- It would take too long to explain how to do it. I am quicker just doing it myself.
- I have more experience and can spot things other people would miss.
You are busy. What opportunities do you fail to see because your head is always down working? How many customers have you lost because they could never get hold of you or that they felt you could not give them your full attention because you were so busy?
Your staff may lack some experience, but how will they build up that experience if you continue to do everything yourself. Don’t forget that you are still there to help them if they get stuck or to give them useful tips and advice, and anyway, you will be able to review the final result. In the meantime, you had some time to make changes to your systems to make things more efficient and to chase down a couple of new customers.
You may well be able to do the job better and quicker than your staff, but even if they only do it 80% as well as you, 2 of them can therefore do 160% of the work that you could have done. You will also quickly come to realise that your staff can do some things better than you, and they have the time to do it properly instead of rushing like you.
So, what do I do in our business? It makes an interesting list from meeting and advising clients to providing technical support, marketing, employment issues, and the rest. I seem to manage to fill about 60 hours a week quite successfully. Could I delegate more?
I have made a conscious decision to do what I do. I could have employed another company to write our marketing material, but I think it would have much less personality. Could I delegate some of the other stuff that I do? I think the answer to that is definitely “yes” but I choose not to.
Not all of the work that is delegated, is to staff. For example, once I finish this weekly marketing material it goes to Lauren at Adder Business and she does all the mailing and social media posting. Lorraine at Recruitment Bee looks after all our recruitment, doing initial interviews and taking up references, so we do not need to do it. We never need to worry about our printer/photocopiers because Highland Copiers are so responsive, we never need to worry about being without a working printer in any office for long. And so, the list goes on.
On the whole, I think we are not bad at delegating!
This will be our last post before Christmas so from all of us at the Long Partnership, all 27 of us, we hope you have a very happy and healthy Christmas and that you get enough of a break that you are ready to take on 2022 and all it decides to throw at us.
If you want to carry on this discussion but you are not sure where to find us, please click here.
Alan E Long
The Long Partnership