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Grow Your Small Business: Learn How to Delegate
By Ray Silverstein

Imagine: you are attending a PRO advisory board meeting. The meeting consists of other small business owners like you, who-along with the facilitator-meet once a month to discuss problems, formulate solutions, and share ideas for growing their businesses.

Today, PRO member Joe is discussing the fact that his business is booming. While he is elated, he is utterly exhausted from trying to manage every aspect of his growing company. Joe acknowledges it's time he started delegating to his employees, but he doesn't know how to do it or where to begin.

What PRO Board Members Recommend
Susan: I understand your concern. When I was in your place, I took the position that in order to groom my company, I had to leverage my skills. I started by giving up work that was not too important, that I didn't do well, and that I didn't enjoy doing.

Jim: That's a good start. When I got to that point, I starting keeping track of my time and what work I was doing. Then I identified what tasks had a low risk of failing if they were not done at a high level. That's the work I now delegate.

Sam: I believe the key to delegation is training your employees and defining what responsibility and authority you are giving them. You can't delegate successfully if your people don't know how to do the work, or don't have the responsibility and authority to actually get it done.

Lance: Personally, I don't delegate the entire task at once. I want to see how the person is performing before I hand over total responsibility for the job.

Gail: I make sure that when I delegate, I don't abdicate my overall responsibility. By that I mean: I stay in contact. I don't micromanage, but I do keep track of what's going on.

Larry: My method of delegation is simple. I keep a "to do" list of all my upcoming tasks and I date each task. If something remains on my list for 30 days without being touched, I delegate it. My theory is that if needs to be done and I can't do it, someone else should. If that person performs well, it gives me confidence to delegate more projects to them.

The PRO Facilitator's Summary
Delegating is necessary-it's the key to growing your company from a one-man band to a complex orchestra. To maximize your business, you must leverage the skills of your most important asset: your people.

Initially, many entrepreneurs are reluctant to delegate. You may fear the work will not get done as well if you don't do it. It also means you, the owner, is forced to move into other areas of the business that you may not as comfortable doing. Your job as the company's leader is not be a technician but to create strategy and processes for the future of the business.

Yes, there is always some risk in delegating. Initially, delegate only work that a low risk or low cost if it is not done well. But you will find, in most cases, that the work will be done very well.sometimes even better than if you did it yourself.

Use delegation as a way to find, train, and test potential management talent. Use it to move your company forward by defining work processes and operational procedures.

Whatever procedure you use to initiate delegation, be sure to define for each employee the scope of his or her responsibility and authority. This allows you to program the project for success-not failure. Remember, delegation is not abdication. Ultimately, you are still responsible for ensuring the work is done to your standards.



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