- Are you overwhelmed by all the tasks you have to do?
- Do you sometimes dream of cloning yourself?
If everybody, especially entrepreneurs, has already asked themselves those questions, cloning yourself might not be the right solution. You don’t need an exact “other you” doing the same job.
Instead, you need to establish an efficient and trustworthy delegation system. In this article, discover what delegation means and some pro tips to maximize your productivity efficiently.
What is delegation?
When you start your company, it is usually quite hard to let go and accept losing some control. But the right way to think about it is to understand delegation as a “conversion of resources” and not a loss of power.
The two primary resources of a company, even for a startup, or even in your life, are money and time. If you had infinite time, you could do everything yourself, but this is not the case. One of the reasons why you are delegating is to convert your money into time.
Delegating is also to outsourcing the right expertise for the tasks. By delegating effectively, you will gain time and, indeed, money.
One example of delegation is accounting because many people don’t have the expertise. So even in a young startup, one of the first delegated tasks is accounting.
To summarize, you can leverage delegation to trade money for time or to acquire the expertise you don’t have.
Delegation and trust: the referral system
As an entrepreneur, you need to have trust when you want to delegate.
But how do you build trust when you are a young startup? In the early days of a startup, the CEO might choose someone they know or someone they have already worked with, to delegate some tasks to avoid, and mitigate the risks of blind trust. Sourcing from your network to delegate is a good first move to execute your task delegation.
But you can also put in place “ trust by proxy “. If you trust one of your friends and this friend trusts their friend, then maybe this person, whom you don’t know yet, is trustworthy and a good fit for your business. Keep in mind that every person of trust you involve in your circle will give you access to more trustworthy people.
For instance, some companies have solid referral policies, where 50% of the people hired come from referrals. The referral program can be so important that employees referring people from their network receive a referral bonus. This referral process based on people you can trust will help any company fast-track the recruitment and onboarding process. In the US, compared to a more traditional Europe, referral policy is huge, as at least 40% of company employees come from referrals.
But of course, as anything, a referral policy is not a magic weapon, and when overrun, it can lead to a monolithic culture. Indeed, you don’t want to abuse the referral system up to the point where your company becomes a fraternity house. To maintain a healthy company culture, you still want to consider “ new blood” employees from recruiting agencies or spontaneous candidates not part of this referral network. This diversity of employees in the work environment is a necessity. You want a space where people can speak to each other when making mistakes or exchange when there is a problem without breaking friendships or creating interpersonal problems because those employees know each other in the private sphere.
As stated in our previous article Hacks for setting up a healthy company culture and showcasing it: “ If your company culture is healthy, your social dynamics and the psychological well-being of everyone who makes up your team will be healthy. Motivation increases in companies with an atmosphere of collaboration and low social tension. Because everyone is working to the best of their abilities, you can expect the rise in motivation and productivity to have a snowballing effect.”.
Delegate as a dev
Smartly delegating is not just choosing what tasks to delegate but also ensuring the job will be done correctly. For that, we have a lot to learn from the development teams.
Usually, to address a dev team, you have to write a ticket listing your request and your need. Those tickets are ranked by difficulty with a point system. You then have a list of acceptance criteria to validate when the task is done. Having a list of acceptance criteria will help you build trust and ensure that the task is correctly completed, remaining in control of the outcome. Acceptance criteria build trust because it gives responsibility and credibility and can be evaluated with real metrics to measure the results.
For instance, Zappos, an American online shoe and clothing retailer, took these acceptance criteria to their limit, building a particular recruiting policy called “The Offer”. The fast-growing company says to its newest employees: “ If you quit today, we will pay you for the amount of time you’ve worked, plus we will offer you a $1,000 bonus.” Zappos is actually paying its new employees to quit. Crazy? Not so much. It streamlines its full recruitment process and puts the recruitment department under pressure. Their “delegated task” is to recruit, and thanks to this methodology, the results of the recruitment team are strictly measured. As a consequence, only 0,2% of the new hire takes “The Offer”, meaning that the Zappos recruitment team is selecting and filtering the right candidates.
Delegating and augmenting your productivity
To be efficient, you need to have a full view of what you do, your short, medium, and long-term goals, and how you fulfill those goals in practice.
Nevertheless, there might be a gap because you may think that the first task you need is the one with the most significant impact, but it is not always true. Sometimes those tasks are the ones that take months to finish. The objective is to analyze those “to-do tasks” in terms of costs, meaning time and money, so that you can evaluate the tasks and their execution ranking.
If I invest one day of work and $1,000 to complete this task, what is the advantage it will provide to the company?
Keep in mind the difference between synchronous and asynchronous tasks. Not only do you want to start with the task that has the lowest cost and the highest impact, but you also want to start with the ones that are asynchronous because you want to launch these tasks and processes as soon as you can as the results will take time to complete.
Delegating is also doing some personal work on yourself. What are your weak points? What are your strong points? To evaluate your strong suit versus your weak points, you can adopt the “metrics method”, where you calculate and review everything. If metrics and KPIs are important, remember that common sense also matters. You will never be good at something that you hate doing. If that is so, hire someone to do this job for you, it will save you time and money in the long run.
Delegating by automating your tasks
Automating might often be preferable to hire.
As stated in our article Turn your mailbox into a productivity powerhouse, it is critical to correctly manage your email and take advantage of Gmail tools and features to increase your productivity and free up time to focus on other aspects of your business. In this article, you will find practical strategies and tutorials for gaining control of your Gmail and putting in place an efficient automation strategy scalable in the long term.
Besides the daily management of your email, you could also think of a virtual assistant as an office manager who works remotely and can remove a part of the administrative burden you have to face daily.
Think of what else you could automate, with the rise of AI tools: the sky is the limit.
And you, what are your productivity tips for managing your resources better?
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