Why You Need to Delegate

September 29th, 2016

delegate or die

By Michael Solomon, Co-Founder of 10x Management

I pride myself on efficiency. It is deeply in the core of my values.  Everyday I read and learn about new life hacks to optimize myself, my time and my life so I spend more time on the things that I love and less time on the things I don’t.

What I’ve learned is that the greatest hack of all is…wait for it… Delegation… especially that of mundane tasks.

Delegation is hugely important to achieve one’s goals and to create efficiency, yet many people find the act of delegating clerical tasks to be more hassle than it’s worth or against their company’s cultural norms.

If it’s the former, you need to get better at managing people. I know a good Executive Coach you can call to work on that. And if it’s the latter, you need to make the case internally for appropriate levels of delegation. It saves SO MUCH TIME AND MONEY.

The basic question to ask about delegation is: What do I do on a regular basis that someone else could do as well or better at less cost?

Of course, there is some overhead involved in hiring and managing people, but the overall result is resoundingly better — if you delegate well. No leader could ever build an organization without effective delegation. In the absence of it, you are completely limited by the time you have in your day. With it, you have unlimited potential which is how we’ve seen brand-new startups become the largest companies in the world in a very short number of years.

Given this, how is it possible that I deal with so many exceptionally bright, capable, successful individuals whose time is worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars per hour and still find them doing tasks that are at most worth $15-20 an hour for an onshore person, even less for an offshore person,and in some instances can be done by a bot.

The DIY culture is great but part of what is needed is the perspective that just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should. I watch people learn new skills at a huge cost of time, to avoid paying a nominal fee to an expert freelancer. No biggie if your motivation is to learn that new skill but if you are doing it to save money, you really need to think it through.

My favorite example of a time suck which I run into all the time, is people doing their own scheduling. Don’t get me wrong. Scheduling is a hugely important task but it is also very time consuming. At times, our staff can spend 1-2 hours per day slotting in meetings and calls and shifting things around in the great puzzle that is my calendar.

Because I’m busy and I believe it is nuanced and obviously important, I have elected not to use a bot or an offshore resource for this. Instead my fantastic assistant saves me from the headaches and challenges of scheduling, rescheduling, coordinating, juggling, and making all of the craziness work. This frees me up to do so many things that are more productive to reach our goals (both professionally and personally).

It seems quite basic but I am constantly amazed how many C level people still deal with their scheduling themselves. In some instances, companies have cultural norms against  support staff, and in others people like doing their scheduling themselves. Regardless of the reason, the wasted time and productivity and resultant costs are astronomical.

By way of example scheduling only took one hour per day times the 261 work days in a year, the annual cost of scheduling with a $15/hour assistant is: $3,915. If an executive who is paid $250k per year does the same scheduling themselves, it costs $32,625. That is nearly $30k in wasted money with no value added.

There are countless examples of tasks for which the same things would hold true. If we want to grow our companies and build value, we need to evaluate when we should do tasks ourselves and when we should delegate. For the most part, if it can be delegated effectively or done better (or equally well) by someone else, it should be. This frees up management to focus on the things that matter most and keeps us all doing the things which we are uniquely suited to do.


What’s your experience with delegating tasks? We want to hear about it in the comments, what’s worked for you, what hasn’t worked…etc.

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