Wednesday 15 August 2018

Having a 'not-to-do' list is good way to help you delegate

'It is your job as the owner of the business to achieve success through your team.'
'It is your job as the owner of the business to achieve success through your team.'

Problem Solver with Feargal Quinn

Query: I have 10 staff working in my business and both they and I would be critical of my role, in that I don't delegate enough which causes endless bottlenecks in the company with too much decision-making going through me. Please help!

Answer: My favourite definition of management, which I placed constant emphasise with my management team in Superquinn on, is "management is achieving results through people".

In other words, it is your job as the owner of the business to achieve success through your team. I can understand the complications that arise with that. You may well have started the business on your own and are used to doing everything. As you employed more and more staff, you may not have let go as many of the tasks as you should have, or at the very least have people constantly coming back to you to validate decisions. You reach a point in the business where you will be stretched beyond capacity and in fact you could become the blockage to growth in the business.

I was at a retail talk recently and the speaker asked the group how many people were good at using 'To do' lists. Approximately 70pc of the room raised their hand. He then asked how many people had a 'not to do' list. The audience simply looked at each other. The speaker then went on to explain that it was important for business owners to certainly be sure on what they should be doing, but it was equally important to be clear on what they shouldn't be doing. It certainly got everyone thinking!

There are lots of great tips online and in management books about delegation skills. In order to make delegation work, you have to be prepared to let go or else it will fail despite all your best intentions. Start slowly and identify the tasks where you are adding no value. These are the ones to first start delegating out to others. Over time you will also find that your team relish the new responsibility and your company will be able to move at a much faster pace. You might even find yourself taking extended weekends off or shortening your working day as the team drive your business to a new level!

Query: I used to run a very large manufacturing business with a turnover of around €750,000. Due to ill health (now recovered) I had to scale this back to a turnover of around €100,000. I also have a second more specialist new business with a similar turnover. My challenge is where I should dedicate the majority of my time.

Answer: I am pleased to hear that your health has recovered and that is the most important aspect.

It would appear that in the future you could have two very strong businesses.

Logic also says to me that the majority of your time should initially be spent on the part of the business that will grow most rapidly for you and yield returns ie the historic part which was much larger previously.

I am of course making the assumption that it is possible to regain any lost ground here, but with your expertise, reputation and experience in this area, you should be able to overcome all of these obstacles.

I am certainly not saying to ignore the new business, but its rather about how you divide your time.

From what you are saying it is clear that the new business will also yield results in the future.

The other thing to bear in mind in all of this, is that it is unlikely you will be able to run both sides of both businesses yourself and now might be a good time to start building up a team that would take responsibility for one side or the other, so that you could dedicate your time and resources to one of the units and an experienced colleague to the other.

That would allow both to progress at speed.

  • Send your small business questions to himself@feargalquinn.ie

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