Delegation is a super power.
Many of us are in a position to use it, but few unleash its true power, the biggest of which is giving you more time to do what you need to do or want to do.
If delegation can do that, why don’t we use it more often?
Because it has costs.
Understand the Costs
You pay for delegation with time.
When you delegate something for the first time, it takes 3-4 times as long as it would take you to do it yourself.
You’ll take time in documenting or explaining what you do, and how you do it.
Then the person doing it would take the same amount of time.
You’ll have to inspect it while they do it.
And chances are they won’t get it right the first time. You would have to explain how to do it right again.
But don’t let that deter you because your gains will be much much bigger than the costs.
Know That You’ll Win Big If You Do It Right
Imagine a weekly task that takes 1 hour to do.
But to train it for someone else to do it and inspect tem while doing it and giving them feedback. It takes you 4 hours. And even then can’t do it as well as you do.
So, what do you do in such a situation?
You give them time to come close to a situation.
Next time, when they do it, you’ll have to do less explaining but the time for them to do it, and for you to give the feedback and all back and forth that goes with it – so let’s assume it takes 3 hours total to do it better than the first time.
And next time, 3 hours to do it a little better.
And next time, 2 hours to do it well, like the person you delegated it to can do, but a version that you are happy with.
So, with a 12 hour investment over 4 weeks.
You’ve eliminated something that took 1 hour out of your week.
If may look insignificant but in a 40 hour work week, that 2.5% of your time saved.
And when you repeat it 12 times in a year. You end up saving 12 hours, which end up recouponing almost â…“ rd of your time.
The Big Question: What to Delegate?
Start with delegating what does not put money on the table. That you don’t like doing or you are not good at.
Delegate something if by doing it an employee will learn a skill, that they need to work efficiently. Move from simple tasks to complex tasks.
Making Delegation Work
Don’t start delegating multiple tasks parallel to each other to different employees. That will put pressure on you because you’ll have to work extra long hours to delegate, inspect and give feedback to multiple people. This is a definitive way to fail at delegation because you are trying to rush through it.
Don’t micromanage. Give people the freedom to make mistakes. But do manage.
I like the 30% rule of inspection. Look at something you delegated when it is at the 30% mark or at a point where too much effort hasn’t been invested but you can get a sense of where the project you delegated is going.
Don’t delegate to people who already have a lot to do.
Also don’t delegate to those who don’t have skills. If you want to delegate to interns, then get an employee to train them for up to 6 weeks, so that they reach a level where you are comfortable delegating to them.
Expect some resistance and uneasiness at your end to the idea of delegation because it is about giving up control and we don’t like when we don’t have control.
Think Elimination and Automation Before Delegation
Only delegate if what you are delegating can’t be eliminated. Like mindless social media posts – done without a why – without a strategy.
If something can’t be eliminated see if you can automate it. For example, you can easily automate initial reply to applicants and the process of booking a 1-on-1 call. With an app connector like Zapier or Pabbly you can connect your Google Drive to YouTube and upload your video directly without any manual effort. Similarly you can automate assigning tasks to a freelancer and changing drive permissions based on when a project is assigned and when the freelancer delivers it.
Hope you use these ideas and save time to do whatever you want to.