Effective Task Delegation

Do you feel your business relies too much on you?

In working with business owners, there are a couple of tools we introduce to productively shift the workload and responsibility across the organization. If you use just one of these tools, we guarantee you will see a noticeable improvement in your current working situation.

First, document what you do!

The first tool or practice we typically prescribe is to ask you to document everything you do for 10 business days. In other words, we provide a form you fill in that indicates when you begin an activity, when you end it, what the activity is and what “category” it fits into. In TouchStone, go to the “Task Delegation & Work Management” inside of the “Guiding” the Business Process Library.

Before you start, be sure to select categories you’d like to track. For instance, if you suspect you’re spending too much time on administrative work, set up an Administrative category. Alternately, you might like to track the amount of time you devote to Sales, Marketing, Operations or Strategic Work.

I used this tool many years ago when a partner of mine suggested I might be spending too much time acting as the board president of my son’s private school and not enough time on our business. When I tracked my time, using Company Work as one category and School Work as another, I was astonished to find that the amount of time I worked as the school’s board president almost constituted a second job. I made adjustments and had more time to devote to my business.

Next, ask if it can be delegated!

Another worksheet we use asks you to document every activity and then note whether that activity could be delegated if you had:

  • someone to delegate it to and/or
  • a system that would support the activity’s productive delegation.

In TouchStone, go to the “Task Delegation & Work Management” inside of the “Guiding” the Business Process Library.

Pretty quickly you’ll find activities that you can delegate to others in your organization with low risk to your company and your customers.

Then, when you take the practice a step further, you may find other areas that you thought you had to do that could be conducted by another member of your team. For example, several years ago I worked with the head of an insurance agency who insisted that “sorting the mail” could not be delegated. I was surprised to think that this leader of a fairly large agency took the time to go to the post office box, get the mail and sort through it every day.

What we discovered was that sorting the mail wasn’t the issue but that he was reluctant to let go of addressing some of the important client communications that came through the mail, and rightly so. So, we developed a simple system that guided his office manager in getting the mail, throwing out junk mail, delivering client communications to the business owner and delivering accounts payables and receivables to the head of finance. It sounds so simple, but until he was able to think through what he was doing, examine the mail “process”, and discover how much time each week he spent processing the mail, he was unwilling to delegate that task to another employee.

Try it for yourself

Sorting the mail might sound like an obvious task to delegate, but you’d be surprised to see what activities business owners and top management hold on to, including you. As you work through this exercise – and even if you only do it for a day or two – you’ll experience many insights that free you up to re-distribute work and have more time to devote to growing and developing your business.