The Truth About Delegation (Part 2)
Doug Bellamy / September 2017
Getting back to our subject matter, I’ll provide a quick reminder by way of review and for emphasis’ sake. First, I’ve stressed what I call the golden rule of delegation: “Avoid doing anything that someone else can do as long as there is something that needs to be done that you alone can do.” Delegate it!
With every fiber in your body as a manager, you must constantly groom your team to operate independently/interdependently and develop new skills once reserved for you or other upper management. Whatever you do, avoid doing things they can and should do for themselves. Don’t do anything for them that isn’t absolutely necessary/instructional or constructive. You must never fail to continuously develop skill sets among subordinates that will free you to focus and optimize on the undoable by others. Before we finish this article, hopefully you’ll have that jewel of a rule memorized and ready for implementation.
Going forward, I am no longer the president of anything. I am working as director of field operations, and my son has formed his own corporation. My current LLC is Turn-Key Development and Consultation. I now assist my son by serving in that capacity as well as providing ongoing mentoring and consultation. Forgive my (slightly off point) fatherly blather and gloating as I gleefully brag about my son (president) and his wife (office manager) for this brief moment. It is relevant.
Our company, Alta, in some form or another is now in its fourth generation and under my son’s current corporation “Innovative Wall Systems Inc. DBA Alta Drywall.” It is currently the largest San Diego residential drywall company, not to mention its custom and commercial divisions.
But as I said, I am retiring with a few possible exceptions. Consequently, over the past year I have been training/mentoring a replacement for director of field operations. This individual has been shadowing my every move. What he hasn’t been able to shadow, I’ve made certain to review my rationale and decision-making with him. He gets it. Whether or not he actually internalizes it remains to be seen.
Organizationally, for nearly a decade now, we’ve began making a managerial, generational transition. I am phasing out, and my successor had better be phasing in. He has managed customer service and our pickup and repairs department in the past, and he has done an exceptional job. But delegation comes hard for him; he tends to be more hands-on, which can become a managerial handicap. Let me stress a few important benefits he’s come to terms with and help all of us identify the various benefits of delegation.
Delegation builds business capacity, stimulating and accommodating more volume, positioning a business to easily develop future management. Delegation itself naturally grooms subordinates for future opportunity, both of which are typically defined as management positions or, at a minimum, a promotion.
Proper delegation develops a business at every level, fostering opportunity for future growth and promotion from within. Doing so is the preferred approach to build and add motivated talent. Delegating can (and should) continuously lighten the load on upper management—if implemented as a core business practice. I have seen businesses develop delegation skills to the extent that there was little demand on upper management. I’ve personally experienced its benefits, managing 500 participants in a few hours a day during busy periods and for an extended period of time.
In order to ward off the downside of failure to apply the golden rule of delegation, one must simply ask themselves if this is the best use of their time. What are your current priorities? Could, and more importantly, should someone else do the things that are currently busying up you workday? How can you prepare others to do the things you currently do, thereby freeing you to pursue life/business at a higher level and with less effort?
What is the best use of your time at this moment? What is it that no one but you can do that needs done, and to whom should you delegate some work in order to focus on those tasks? I call those tasks that I must retain “my unique responsibilities,” or MUR.
The never-ending reminder that must be ringing in our ears is this: “If I’m doing somebody else’s job and not addressing MUR, who is doing my job? Nobody! If I’m repeatedly tying myself up with someone else’s job, I’m not qualified for management, much less upper management. Consequently, I simply must pay attention to what I alone am suited for. What I do must be mission critical for me now and of course for the future. You and I can’t afford to be doing anything that someone else can competently do.
Doug Bellamy is former president of Innovative Drywall Systems Inc. dba Alta Drywall, Escondido, Calif. He is known for his original thought, innovative approach and the personal development of unique processes, systems and procedures. He is available for consultation, business management seminars and training. Visit him on LinkedIn or contact him at email@example.com.