It’s natural for business owners to feel reluctant to delegate. After all, their name and reputation is often all over the work. If the person they delegate to doesn’t come through with top quality work, it’s the owner who suffers most.
Still, learning to delegate effectively is essential to sustainable productivity, because you can’t work as long or as well if you try to do everything yourself. (As I’ve said before, Babe Ruth didn’t sew his own uniforms.)
Consider this key strategy for effective delegation: delegate the result, not the procedure. To dictate the exact path by which someone carries out a task is to micro-manage. When delegating let the other person take responsibility for successful completion of the objective; some leeway is usually necessary.
When I delegate my bookkeeping to someone else, I have not given up responsibility for having my books in order at the end of each month, quarter, and year. (Just ask the IRS whether I’m off the hook; they’ll say “no way!”) Look at it this way: the bookkeeper and I now each have full responsibility for my bookkeeping, but my responsibility has changed. The bookkeeper is responsible for doing the work, and I’m responsible for ensuring that it’s done.
In order for you to achieve sustainable productivity, you must delegate. Practice changing your responsibility from doing the job to ensuring that it gets done.