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Updated 29 Sep 2020

The fine art of delegating

Mastering the 70% rule will help you figure out what to delegate. 

17 October 2014  Share  0 comments  Print

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What would you do if you had acres of time to work on your business instead of in it? Chances are you’d spend it doing important, C-level tasks like strategy and planning.

Trouble is, as a business owner you just don’t seem to have time in the day to get around to those important tasks because of all the operational tasks you need to do. You’re stuck working ‘in’ your business instead of ‘on’ it.

A question frequently asked by business owners is how effectively and when the right time is to hand things over.

Another concern is that the task simply won’t be don’t to their exacting standards and they may as well keep doing it themselves. Sound familiar?

The truth about delegating: Managing expectations

The truth is that someone is unlikely to do a task as well as, or in the same way as you would do it. Certainly not right out of the starting blocks at any rate. But if you wait for someone to reach 100% of your expectations, you’re going to be stuck doing those tasks that suck your valuable time.

It’s important to remember that no matter where you go in the world, 60 minutes is one hour. However, 60 minutes of mundane clerical work is very different to 60 minutes of focused CEO time. If a CEO is spending an hour doing admin, isn’t he just a glorified clerk?

How the ‘70% rule’ can change your thinking

The rule is simple and effective: If someone is able to do a task at least 70% as well as you can, then you can and should delegate. Why? 70% isn’t an A, but it’s a pretty darn good B, and that’s a good starting point.

While it may be hard to let go of your need for perfection or your belief that your way is the correct way, you need to weigh the benefit of having a task less perfectly completed by someone else, that will affording you more time to focus on higher impact projects that really need your attention and really affect the future of your business.

Steps to delegating better

The first and most important shift in mind-set is to extend trust to your employees; understand that it may be completed differently to your method (but hey if it’s done right does it really matter?); and let go of your perfection complex – in other words, do things need to be completed, or completed your way?

What’s more the freedom you give your team to complete a task may result in a better way being found, after all, being set in your ways might have meant a simpler, more effective process was being overlooked.

True some tasks cannot be done anything less than 100%, and those shouldn’t be delegated, but rather transferred with the right support, training and oversight. For the rest, get delegating and enjoy your new-found strategy time.

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