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Are you ready to delegate?

Last week I talked a bit about how we can focus our time, energy and attention to achieve true productivity as leaders in business. This is an exercise that I recommend any time a person is thinking about bringing someone new on board, either as an employee or a contractor. Before I start paying someone to do work that I’m currently doing I want to be sure that I am leveraging my time personally, and performing as efficiently as possible.  If I’m supervising a larger team, I would ask a manager or supervisor to perform the same review before expanding the workforce.

Once I’ve double-checked my own performance, and before I bring on additional resources, I need to prioritize the work that I want to delegate or outsource.  A simple strategy for this identification is to set a notepad on your desk with column headers for the main task categories you are working in on any given day. As you go through the day make a note of the time that you spend on each of these tasks. Track your time for at least a week and possibly two, to discover what really is capturing the majority of your attention.

Put these tasks in priority order. Ask yourself what are the things that you must do because they are unique to your skill set, and what are the things that could be done by an entry level worker.  Consider whether a task is proprietary or confidential perhaps while it’s not complicated it’s still not time to delegate that task in the absence of the right legal protections or controls. Ask yourself what you love to do and what you would be grateful never ever to have to do again. Identify the tasks that you would delegate first if you could and then consider how much time you spend on those particular tasks. Then ask yourself how much money you could generate if you spent about 70% of that amount of time driving sales.  Now you have a budget number!

With a budget in mind and a task set in hand, you have the basic formula for expanding your team. You can begin to search for a person with the skills that you need who would be delighted to work for the budget you’ve got and you’ll know that you’re ready to delegate.