Originally posted 12/4/2014, revised 9/14/2021.
As part of my on-going series about the art and science of effective delegation, and in response to questions I have been asked, I have developed the following Top 10 List:
The Top 10 Items You MUST Delegate
- Activities that will speed up your cash flow – This includes collection calls, invoicing on a timely basis, responding to inbound customer inquiries, processing and shipping orders and making it easy for customers to buy from your business, to mention just a few.
- Tasks that are already streamlined and documented – This is one of the keys to achieving both leverage and consistency in your business. Without leverage and consistency your business will become increasingly chaotic as it grows, if it grows at all.
- Tasks that involve government or other outside, often-changing regulations – You simply do not have the resources to keep up with regulations. Make sure to delegate to trained professionals whose job it is to be up to date. For example, a while ago I was introduced to a customs lawyer. She told me that her new law practice was booming because U.S. Customs is now part of the Department of Homeland Security. She mentioned she found many companies that have been importing materials for years, always completing the paperwork the same way that are un-wittingly, no longer in compliance. Worse yet, the potential penalties are many times larger than before DHS was formed.
- Anything that you want your team to master – You will never achieve leverage in your business if your team does not master operational tasks. Mastery supports consistency. Consistency is a prerequisite to growth.
- Tasks where you are the bottleneck – If everything goes through you, your company can only work at your speed and capacity.
- Areas that are beyond your skill-set or competence – Simply put, if you are not good at it, you shouldn’t be doing it.
- Anything that you shouldn’t be doing – If you are tempted to do that low-value task that is not time sensitive, stuffing envelopes, shredding out of date documents, etc., you are keeping yourself from adding the most value you can to your business. Remember, all of us ultimately are compensated for the value we add, not for the time we devote.
- Tasks that keep you from growing your business – The main responsibility of ownership, whether you actually own a company or simply take ownership of your responsibilities, is to develop and grow your business.
- Anything you hate to do – If you hate it, you most certainly will not do it well.
- Anything that requires specialized knowledge – You cannot possibly be an expert about every subject necessary to build a successful business. You can never go wrong delegating to expertise on an as-needed, demand basis.
Bonus – Any subject where you can benefit from someone else’s experience – We are not omnipotent; learn from the mistakes of those who went before you.
One very important word of caution: You must not abdicate any of the above; you must learn and practice effective delegation.
Please share your experiences and results from delegation or abdication with my growing community.