Accomplish More by Doing Less

You Can't Do Everything Yourself

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Bart Cleveland Bart Cleveland
I've been trying to finish up several pieces I've been writing for the blog but my workload has gotten a little crazy lately. We're launching several campaigns, new business is in a fury and we're constructing a new building. This has made it very hard to do anything with the care I typically take, and it's frustrating. So I decided to take a step back and ask myself what I can do better. The best answer I came up with is to stop trying to do everything and delegate.

When you're as hands on yourself as I am, delegation can be very disconcerting to your people. They are used to you weighing in on everything, and now they have it on their shoulders. They have to make the call. If you've trained them properly, you shouldn't have a problem making it over the bar. If they fail, well, that happens. How else will they learn?

I've noticed several of our employees have taken a step forward to own a job and see it through with minimum input. How did this happen? We told them that they owned the job. They know the client, the obstacles and our standard for excellence so there is no reason they can't deliver. They simply need to believe in themselves and perform.

My partners are there to help but we don't need to baby-sit. Sometimes I think we do anyway because of our own withdrawal from being the "doer." The employee's new role of job owner is a bit disconcerting for an employee if they don't have your confidence. They can lean a bit more than they need to. I had to make myself back off and give them room to try. I ignored a little plea for help to see if they could do it for themselves.

I'm seldom disappointed.

Challenging employees to own their work is a necessity for a small agency to succeed. If you do everything for your clients they won't trust anyone else to do it. If you can't let go of the work, you won't permit your employees to enjoy ownership and the rewards of success that follows. Granted, you can't just throw someone in a pool and say "swim" and expect perfection. Mistakes will happen, clients will be nervous and you, agency owner, will have to be involved.

But a wonderful thing will also happen. You will be freed up to work more effectively for all of your clients most of the time. You will be able to see to your business needs more effectively. Most of all you will have happier and more excited employees because they will have ownership of their work. They will see their own growth and gain confidence. The best employees want to be challenged. This is the best way to keep your "keepers." Give them responsibility and they will feel more dedicated to your client and their success.

Though I'm really busy right now, I could be busier if I had not handed off several things to my co-workers. I'm seeing the fruit of their labor is up to my expectation and I'm enjoying the confidence of their success because they're asking for more responsibility.

A short time ago these people were pretty green. They have pushed forward and have impressed me simply because I asked them for help. It can be hard for we small agency owners to give up some of our hats as we grow, but we must if our agencies are to grow without compromising quality.
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