Deciding to Delegate

If you are a control freak like me, you’ll know that delegation is a BIG decision. There are lots of things to consider. The question of what to delegate should be easy but often isn’t.

You want to delegate things that…

  • you don’t like to do
  • slow you down or sap your energy
  • cause you to be disorganized
  • draw your focus away from the things you’re really good at
  • require a certain expertise to get quality results – and you are lacking that expertise
  • can be grouped together for easy delegation
So now that you’ve figured out what to delegate, how do you go about it? It’s all about finding the right balance between quality and cost.

Is the activity something that needs skill and experience to get a quality result? How do you perceive cost and quality? Higher quality usually means higher cost. What is the level of quality that you require and are you willing to pay for it?

What is your time worth? You really have to have a clear understanding of this before you’ll be comfortable delegating. If your time is valued at $100/hour and it’ll take you 10 hours to do a job, wouldn’t you rather pay someone else $100/hour who can complete it in 3 hours?

The cost of delegating isn’t always money. It could be an exchange of your time for someone else’s. It could be a mixture of both; for example, a lower cost may mean that you have to spend more time managing the activity.

For a small business owner, delegation might take one of these forms:

  • Hiring employees
  • Using casual labour
  • Outsourcing
  • Exchanging services with colleagues
I’ve been going through this whole process myself recently. There is some basic math that you can do to determine if it makes sense for you to delegate. The first thing you have to do is to put a value on your own time.

Originally published in Work Better, Not Harder on October 27, 2011