Delegation means to authorize someone to take action in your place, and is a neccessary skill for all entrepreneurs who feel they “don’t have enough time”.
Let’s take a look at what we should and shouldn’t delegate:
Activities to delegate 100%
You should delegate all production and service delivery. If you think about it a moment, when you go to visit an important doctor who is a leader in their field, it is often their staff that takes care of everything. In some cases you won’t even meet the doctor, but instead deal with one of their assistants. Their fame and the stringent quality standards that they built over time take care of everything.
It should work the same way in your company: you have to build a rigorous and effective system that is able to take care of customers.
Activities to delegate 50%
You should delegate all Administrative activities except for human relations and financial or fiscal decisions that contain strategic aspects, as we will see shortly.
You should delegate all Commercial activities with a few exceptions: once again the important meetings, human relations, direct human relationships with leading commercial players (which may be managed by a Sales Manager, but with whom you also, occasionally, maintain a relationship even if more casual – how are you, how are things, I’m happy we’re helping you accomplish your goals, is there anything I can help with – rather than operational or managerial) or, in the case of smaller companies, relationships with the larger customers.
As for Marketing, you should delegate all the operational aspects, but be present to give your important contributions to strategic decisions such as, for example, how to position the company and what are the principles on which to focus. Usually you do these things through mutual agreement and advice from your managers, but to completely delegate it would be a mistake.
Activities you should not delegate
You should never delegate strategic activities: the mission cannot be delegated, marketing strategy and positioning in the marketplace should be personally decided by you, just as with the company’s values.
Human relationships cannot be delegated.
Economic decisions are yours, as well as any decisions to take on key human resources.
In the legal area you are the one who must decide strategy, after listening to the advice of others, and then you must rely on good advisers or consultants to carry it out.
“Delegate everything except control” as an entrepreneur friend of mine once said.
At the end of the day you are the one who must decide which direction your company takes. When you delegate the company’s strategy to someone else – like to a general manager – you’re running a huge risk: you are an entrepreneur and they are not. You had the ambition to open a company, while they merely work for you. Even if they are very good, all in all, they just don’t have the same instinct you do. Having them decide company strategy could even end up irreparably damaging the relationship when you realize that their strategy isn’t working and you have to invalidate them.
It is a delicate situation: by letting your General Director (even a good capable person, or find yourself in a company that you no longer identify with.
Similarly, you have to be the one to entertain relationships with key people of the company, to see how things are with them and their growth plans. If you delegate the care of relationships with key people in the company to someone else, someday they might steal away your company.
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