As we approach the end of 2012, I hope you are taking time to think about the strategies that will improve your firm as well as your own professional growth in the year ahead. One of the most effective strategies for growth is to delegate tasks that you have outgrown and give up full control of those tasks to others.
After reading an eye-opening book–E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber, I began to work hard to give up tasks that others could do as well, and in many cases, better than I did them. I fired myself. The decision was a spectacular one because it allowed me to move on to other projects that were better for Boomer Consulting and more fulfilling for me personally.
The main message of E-Myth Revisited is that you should turn your company into a franchise–not literally, but in the sense that you make sure each and every job function is documented well enough that you can turn it over to someone else if you need to. The key here is to teach, push work out and let go!
You should fire yourself from tasks that don’t fit you any longer, especially from the jobs that, with your handling them, stand in the way of your company's growth. Because of E-Myth Revisited’s teachings, I believe this is an ongoing process that everyone in the firm should take part in each year.
Before I read the book, I believed that if I delegated I was failing to do my job and I was unable to handle all of my responsibilities. I closed deals, created intellectual capital, presented and did the majority of the follow up for all of my client engagements. This practice was, quite frankly, crazy and unnecessary because I am surrounded by an amazing and very capable team. All of them are highly educated and experienced and they possess a strong sense of the work that needs to be accomplished. Still, I felt that I was the only one who could properly divvy out the projects. What's more, I was somehow afraid that handing over many of these important functions would cause our company to lose two of our strongest competitive advantages–speed and agility. The truth was, I realize now: I didn't want to give up control.
By being unwilling to give up control, I was spending most of my time working in my business, not on my business. In other words, I was in the weeds every day and I had no time left to think strategically. I was also keeping others on my team from using their unique abilities and in essence I was holding them back. This was creating a vacuum of lost information as projects were passed one desk to another and everyone was waiting for direction from me. On top of that, I found my time consumed in unfortunate ways that did not fit my instinctive capabilities. I also found that I was spending personal time working on firm projects instead of time where I wanted to be with my family.
Today, I'm proud to say that I have turned over many tasks and projects to other leaders at Boomer Consulting. I believe the act of delegating and letting go of both the responsibility for the task and the authority to make decisions was a real gift to me. I am more focused, I produce more and in the end I am far more satisfied today then I was "B.D.” (before delegation). One more important note is that it has only affected our client relationships for the better.
Of course, I still know what's happening at the company. I can easily find answers if I need an update on a specific project. I gave up control, not knowledge.
So what about you? Are you working in your business, or on your business?
Review your task list today and fire yourself before the end of the year! Select, train and then give away both the responsibility and authority for tasks that could be done better by someone else. Enjoy greater efficiency and effectiveness. Focus on what your firm needs you to focus on: strategic direction and vision.