To enable you to focus on what you do best in order to maximize your impact, that is the purpose of delegation according to world-renowned leader Michael Hyatt.
And isn’t that what the world needs right now? Maximum positive impact. Our best work ever. Inspirational leadership. If ‘the world’ feels too foreign, just think of your immediate community, long-term clients and life-long business contacts.
For you to extend your reach, you need to take the hands of others. Ironically, you increase your impact, by letting go, by letting others help you. And if you want to do that well, you need to learn the art of delegation.
We all know there are certain jobs you enjoy and excel in more than others. And some jobs that just tap your energy to no end. The truth is we all do certain things well and others things not so well.
Delegation allows you to focus on what you’re good at and for someone else to take care of the things you’re not so good at. It allows you to spend most of your time in your strength zone, making your work so much better!
Our resources are finite. We don’t have unlimited time and unlimited energy. But if you want:
- To be more productive
- Deliver better quality work
- Become calmer and happier
you need to learn the art of delegation.
Where Do You Start? A Practical Two-step Process
1. Identify your strengths
2. Offload everything else
Many leaders, especially those in start-ups and small businesses, devote more than half their work hours to administrative activities. E.g. responding to e-mail, managing their calendar, paying bills, collecting money, writing marketing material, trying to design their own website and so on.
They are doing several things that others could dobetter or at least as well as they could.
- Identify your Strengths
According to the authors of Living Your Strengths, your focus should be on your strong natural abilities rather than on your weaknesses. They define a “strength” as a powerful combination of your talents, skills and knowledge in a certain area.
Research indicates that working on an area of weakness will yield limited improvement. There’s really very little you can do to improve your weaknesses and you are wasting time and energy trying to do so.
Applying the same energy to developing a strength though, results in exponential growth, high satisfaction levels and increased motivation. Working on strengths actually gives you energy instead of sapping it!
2. Offloading to Others
Offloading happens in 2 steps:
A. Identify those tasks that others can also do
As you plan your week, look at each task and ask yourself, Is this something someone else can do? Or is it something only I can do? Then you only do those things that others cannot do.
B. Slowly start hiring part-time assistants
Now you start finding assistants who can take over the tasks you identified above. This can’t usually happen immediately. It can take a few months and will possibly be a continuous process.
Examples of such assistants include:
- A Virtual Assistant to filter e-mail, manage your calendar, make travel arrangements, do type work, etc.
- A Web developer to handle all the technical details of your website
- A Writer/Editor to develop the “good stuff” for your marketing material
- A Bookkeeper to invoice clients, make payments and provide financial reports.
- A Graphic Designer to create the graphics for new products and other marketing materials.
Interestingly, none of these assistants has to be full-time employees. They can all be independent contractors with their own clients working for a few hours a week.
Seeing that we come from the Virtual Admin industry, we will use examples from this field and mention some concerns clients have when you speak about hiring a Virtual Assistant.
I’m not sure which jobs to give them.
We help our clients through the process of choosing the best tasks to delegate. Tasks like typing, sorting paperwork, drawing up spreadsheets are good examples of what an assistant rather than a business owner could be doing. Staying focused on your core business is key to increasing your impact and making more money.
I don’t know how many hours the work will take.
Keep in mind a task won’t necessarily take your VA as long as it takes you. In most cases, you will be pleasantly surprised to find your trained VA much more efficient than you. And remember, a VA service also has a pretty good idea of the time certain tasks require and can help you estimate.
How will I know whether my VA is really doing the work?
How do you know if any of your employees are really doing their work? You have to be intentional about managing them:
- Schedule weekly calls to make sure you are on the same page.
- Request status calls or reports
- Use Skype/WhatsApp for instant contact
- Evaluate performance just like you evaluate any other employee, by the results achieved.
- Include your VA on conference calls and invite them to your annual retreats and strategy meetings.
At AdminAssist, our clients are welcome at any time to request an account of how their hours were applied. Our VA’s keep a log of their time so that the information is available on demand.
I don’t want to commit to something before I try it.
This is totally understandable and the main reason why we at AdminAssist at least, offer the Ad Hoc option in addition to the package/retainer options. Ad Hoc Hours allows you to ‘test’ the arrangement for a month or two to see which communications routes work best, whether you and the VA are a match and on average how many hours the tasks require.
AdminAssist doesn’t just assign you a VA at random. Instead, we find out what you need and then go through a “matchmaking” process to match the VA’s strengths to your requirements.
A virtual relationship, just like any other though, takes commitment by both parties to work.
I’m not sure this will help me save money.
This is difficult for most clients to wrap their heads around, but think of it this way:
- Which business activities could you have been doing with the time you spent on admin?
- What is your time worth per hour? Could you have been busy making money in the time you used for admin?
- Hiring a VA is less expensive and less risky than hiring a full-time employee.
Yes, as successful individuals, we are used to doing our best and delivering excellence. In a crisis, we need to offer our strengths to each other. Take an hour today, identify your strengths, delegate your weaknesses as far as possible and increase your impact in the world.