How Effective Delegation Can Help Your Business Flourish
Shirley is very proud to have built her business up from scratch
. An IT consultancy producing bespoke solutions for small to medium sized organisations, her company has proved to be very successful, growing substantially over the past few years and working within an ever-expanding geographical area. However, this has created problems of its own; Shirley has been a very active entrepreneur, taking a decidedly hands-on approach whenever possible, always being available to solve problems and make key decisions. Yet the growth of the company has made it increasingly difficult to continue this approach.
Not that she doesn't want to: she feels that no-one understands her organisation as she does and that the company's progress is safest in her own hands. However, this has raised some significant issues that need to be addressed if that impressive progress is to continue. Perhaps the most problematic of these is the strain on her time; after all, Shirley can't add extra hours to a day and she already has a great deal of regular duties that need to be carried out. Relying on her own efforts to address all manner of problems and decisions is causing these matters to be delayed, sometimes to a potentially damaging extent. Also, it's difficult for her to guarantee that everything is done to the very highest level when she tries to take on so much.
There has to be a change. Either Shirley must take on fewer tasks or the company will suffer. However, as understandable as it is for Shirley to want to keep managing her business as she always has, it's not accurate to see relinquishing certain duties as a retrograde step. Whatever roles she chooses to move away from will be delegated to someone else. Successful and considered delegation can prove to be of great benefit to any organisation.
Knowing when and what to delegate to others starts with self-assessment. Shirley must consider her own strengths and weaknesses and their impact upon her work; she won't be giving up all of her duties after all, so it makes sense to focus on those which allow her to give the most advantage to the business within the least time or use of resources. In this sense, in prioritising the tasks that have the best ratio between benefit and effort, delegation can be seen as an important step towards greater efficiency.
Having considered her own strengths and weaknesses, Shirley must also look at those of her staff in reallocating tasks. Skill matching and understanding what options she has available are very important in ensuring that all work is carried out effectively, and that the efficiency measures that she's applied to her own work hold true across the organisation. With any major task, Shirley can look at her colleagues and herself and assess who would be best suited to the role, helping her business to make the best use both of its resources and of the time available - and also helping her to provide the finest possible service for existing and potential customers.
Of course, it's wholly understandable that Shirley will want to keep her company under her direct control, even if some key tasks are delegated to others. It's important that she encourage feedback from her colleagues and monitors the work that they are doing. If she believes that a piece of work that she's delegated has not been carried through as she'd have intended, she should feel confident in discussing the matter with the relevant colleague, highlighting the concern and potential solutions. However, this ought not to be seen as a reason to not delegate in future, rather an opportunity for further learning and development; after all, once Shirley can be assured that all those to whom she delegates work will produce the ideal results, the company will only benefit from having so many capable hands to carry out important tasks.
Knowing that the business she's worked hard to create can be carried forward in safe hands means a great deal to Shirley. Successful delegation is a vital step in the organisation's development and with a short training course to hone her skills in knowing what, when and to whom to delegate she can feel confident that important decisions and activities are carried out just as she needs them to be. Anyone in her position might feel that they don't want to let go of the controls that drive the company forward, but effective delegation brings enhanced control, with many moving together as one. In the end, Shirley will find that there really is strength in numbers.
by: Rich Talbot
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