Bramble Berry’s COO was on vacation last week (that’s us, pretending to fly a plane – notice who is actually steering?). Besides making me desperately appreciate him even more, I took away a renewed appreciation in the fine art and skill of delegation. It turns out, when you over-delegate and under-instruct, nothing much happens. Or rather, much happens, none of it right.
My tips for delegating, after a week of doing a super sub par job of it:
1. Clearly outline the desired outcome – You’d be surprised at how hard this is. I’ve been failing at it for ten years now and still find it a struggle. If you want Mary Jo’s package to make it to her in British Columbia, with correct custom forms, for less than $35, by next Friday, you HAVE to spell all of that out…
2. In writng – If you want to delegate effectively, write out your desired outcome (and steps for success). My staff are often shocked to get an email from me when I could easily just turn around and tell them my wish. Just by writing it, you will gain clarity and focus as you try to make sense of your mind spaghetti on paper. In addition, giving a valued staff member your expectations in writing helps to ensure that they are exceedingly (and painfully) clear on your expectations.
3. With follow-up – Would you give a child in middle school an assignment worthy of a high schooler and not help, follow up, coach and mentor? Just like you wouldn’t tell your 15-year-old to go drive your stick shift BMW on the first try, it’s poor planning to delegate without mentorship. As Norman demonstrates with his son on the Bramble Berry forklift, hands on help and support are important. As a leader, your job is to instruct, mentor and coach your team to the next level of greatness – the depth of skill reservoir they didn’t even know they possessed! You do this through…
4. Scheduled Communication – Every day at Bramble Berry, we have team meetings. The warehouse meets, the key Management meet and the Customer Service Department meets. We cover the same things: (a) What did you do today? (b) Are you stuck? (c) What went well? How can we do more of that? Daily communication is a key to complete organizational alignment. It’s also a good check in for the projects you’ve delegated. “So, Apryl, how is that newsletter design I asked you to do?” (Hint for Soap Queen readers: the newsletter is coming out this week. If you want to shop two sales at once, go sign up for it here)
5. Praise for Things Done Right – No one runs your business as well as you do. No one can make your soap, pull your orders, invoice and talk to the customers the way you do. I get that. But if your helpers even do an 80% job, they deserve praise. They deserve recognition for a job done well. And they deserve your confidence that maybe, sometimes, they do run certain aspects of your business even better than you can do. Your way isn’t always the best way to do something. Let them tweak the process along the way and give them kudos when the end result is successful.
And, if they didn’t do an 80% job, head back to Step 3 and start the entire process again.
Resources to help you on the path to Delegation Success:
Jack Canfield Delegation Worksheet
Listen to Jack talk about delegating and the finances behind delegation