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Originally posted 12/6/2013, extensively revised 8/8/2022 (revisions are in Italics)

Why You Say You Don’t Want To Delegate?

I’ve surveyed many clients over the years, and the top reasons I have heard for not delegating are:

  • It will take too much time
  • I can’t afford the time to train someone to do this
  • No one can do it as well as I do
  • The last time I delegated something it was a disaster
  • I have no one to delegate to

Let’s look at each of these one by one.

It will take too much time – It does take some time, at first.  But let’s look at this from another angle.  You have a single monthly task that takes you a mere hour per month.  you delegate it to a member of your team who is qualified but has never done this particular task before.  Taking a worst-case scenario, in month one, you have the designated person observe you doing the task, and because you are teaching as you go along, it takes 1-1/2 hours.  In month two, you observe your team member doing the task and assist when necessary.  Again you invest 1-1/2 hours of your time.  In month three you again observe and invest one hour.  In month four, your team member accomplishes the task alone and you invest .25 hours reviewing the results. In subsequent months you simply review the results for ten minutes, or less and your team member, becomes almost as proficient as you, requiring 1.1 hours to accomplish the task.  Results after one year:

Month Your Hours Without Delegating Your Hours With

Delegation

Team Member hours
1 1 1.5 1.5
2 1 1.5 1.5
3 1 1.0 1.25
4 1 0.25 1.25
5 to 12 1 each 0.1 each 1.1 each
Total Hours 12 5.05 14.30
Your Total Saving 6.95

That is almost seven more than the hours you used to devote to the task that you have made available to devote to higher value activities. This was an extreme example. You can probably get your team member up to speed much faster.

I can’t afford the time to train someone to do this – Now let’s put some value to your time.  Assume you earn, or would like to earn $200,000 per year.  That equates to $69.44 per hour, realistically assuming the typical 60 hour weeks most entrepreneurs works.  Assuming your team member is a manager earning $75,000 per year, and works 50 hour weeks, the value applied toward the hours expended in the table above is:

Month Your Cost Without Delegation Your Cost With Delegation Cost of Team Member
1 $69.44 $104.17 $46.88
2 $69.44 $104.17 $46.88
3 $69.44 $69.44 $39.06
4 $69.44 $17.36 $39.06
5 to 12 $555.52 $55.52 $275.04
Total $833.33 $350.69 $446.88
Raw Saving $35.76
Added Value of your time $482.61
Net Value Added $518.37

But wait, there’s more!  If you invest your time towards more appropriate, very productive, high-value activities, you can expect a return on invested time of at least five times.  That equates to a return from saving about seven hours in the first year by effectively delegating a one hour per month task of just under $7,000.00!  In subsequent years, the delegated task yields an even greater monetary return. That is just one monthly 1-hour task, what was a weekly task? Or daily?

Now let’s take a quick look at delegating a menial task to a more appropriate person, say a $41,600 per year administrative assistant ($20.00/hour, 40 Hours per week).  In this example the monetary saving is significant:

Month Your Cost Without Delegation Your Cost With Delegation Cost of Team Member
1 $69.44 $69.44 $30.00
2 $69.44 $69.44 $30.00
3 $69.44 $69.44 $22.00
4 $69.44 $17.36 $22.00
5 to 12 $555.52 $55.52 $176.00
Total $833.33 $350.69 $280.00
Raw Saving $70.69
Added Value of your time $356.98
Net Value Added $491.30

And that is before the ROI on your time being invested more effectively.

Clearly, you can’t afford to NOT delegate as many tasks as possible!

No one can do it as well as I do. That is a load on bull! The training is the key.

The last time I delegated something it was a disaster. Past performance does not predict future results, especially if you haven’t mastered my 10 steps to effective delegation.

I have no one to delegate to. You have an extended team, including your professionals, part-timers, family, etc. If you are within an organization, you can delegate UPWARD, if you use diplomacy.

This is Part 2 of a continuing series about effective delegation.  I welcome your comments and case studies.  Stay tuned, Part 3 will be re-published shortly.

Michael Breitman headshot
About the author,

Certified, Award Winning Executive, Leadership and Business Coach - My mission is to assist as many business executives and owners as possible to leverage their talents and experience for the purpose of maximizing the value they bring to their markets, teams, families, and communities.