Letting Go of Low-Value (but necessary) Tasks, and Focusing on Your Purpose
If you’re a regular Admin Slayer reader or client, you know we just can’t shut up about delegating. We even wrote a book about it. But we’re not alone in slamming the idea home - every business coach, business magazine, and management consultant we’ve run into says the same thing: delegation is a key to scaling your business.
You want to do it. You know it’s the right thing. Even though it’s a little frightening - seriously can you really afford this? You decide to hire an administrator. And for some reason, it just doesn't work. The administrator doesn’t know what to do. You can’t seem to communicate with them. You don’t have any idea what to send them. You’re just too busy to delegate, or, honestly, you could do it better, so you may as well do it yourself.
One of the biggest challenges that we’ve come across in serving our business owners is getting them to actually use us. Many sign up, get matched with an expert team, and for some reason, the start button just never gets smacked. Or maybe it’s pawed at a little, but the magic that turns delegation into a money-making machine, just doesn’t get flicked on.
Maybe our wands aren’t working.
Wait, no, we’re professional administrators, not witches.
We know that when a business owner uses our team effectively, we make them money. And we’re not just saying that (see what Christine Pilkington says).
So what’s not working for those business owners who can’t seem to leave the start line?
We know one issue here could be the difficulty in making that switch from “maker” to “manager”. Many people open businesses because they love what they do. They don’t want to hand it off. Others really love running businesses, just in general. They don’t want to hand that off.
Some people would love to hand off just about everything, but time is so incredibly tight, and it seems faster to complete that thing by yourself than explain it to someone. “It’ll just take 5 minutes,” you tell yourself. Then all those 5 minutes build on top of each other and you realize… you’ve 5 minuted so many things that you didn’t end up doing the main thing you meant to do. And then the phone rings again or an email comes in and...it’ll just take 5 minutes…
Still others simply don’t know what can be delegated. Where do you even start? How are you supposed to know what is to go where and by whom and when? Especially if this is your first rodeo, or you’ve always run a business without help, or on teams that just weren’t good at helping; knowing what to delegate, and how, can be really tough.
Here’s how to become an expert delegator:
- Create a new routine. Especially in the beginning, we encourage entrepreneurs to have regular, scheduled check-in calls with their slayer. Talk about what happened last week - just talking about it can help you remember some of the outcomes, and some of the great follow up tasks that need to get done (and can be delegated). Talk about what’s coming up this week, and how you plan on getting things done. Your team can help you hand off the stuff that doesn’t require your unique skill set to make sure that you remain successful.
- Decide whether you want to be a maker or a manager. Entrepreneurs can be one or the other - but rarely both. These two types have different kinds of schedules. Get clear on which one you are, and then work with your team to develop the kind of schedule that allows you to either make or manage at your best.
- Create a Business Task List. What are all the things (what - not how or by whom) that need to get done in order for your business to run? Which of these are things you do well? Which of them are things you’re good at but you’re frankly not interested in? Which do you dread?
- Create a Friction List. What’s just not working? If there really were witches and wizards, what would it look like after they waved their magic wand at your business?
- Take all of these answers, and share them with your team. Don’t have a team? Book some time with a management consultant, a business coach (who specializes in process), or drop us a note. Get ideas from someone who isn’t you, someone completely outside of your box, who can bring fresh perspectives and new ideas.
Once the answers are in place, commit to creating a passive and proactive system, one that runs when you aren’t there, and provides answers without your direct input. That doesn’t mean you won’t know - we believe that most business owners want to be able to see what’s happening on some kind of a dashboard - it just means that you can be freed up to concentrate more on the work that makes you happy, wealthy, and successful.
For those of you who really want to say “yes” to everything: Empower your team to act as your gatekeeper.
Our CEO has handed the responsibility of managing her time (ALL of her time) to her slayer, Lindsay. They are in frequent communication throughout the week, and Julia knows that when Lindsay says there is no time available - or that there is, but it’s going to be about six months from now - that she really doesn’t have time. If Lindsay says “no”, it’s because she knows that 1. it’s lower on the list of important things Julia has outlined than other items competing for that time, 2. there genuinely isn’t time in Julia’s calendar, and 3. it’s going to eat up the limited pool of energy that Julia has. The responsibility (and some of the pain!) is lifted by having our CEO's gatekeeper say “no” to things she wants to do but is too human to include in her already heavily scheduled calendar. The result is she can focus on doing the work that grows Admin Slayer and our sister company, Spring Plans.