What Delegating implies
As you may know, Consuunt wants to guide you whether you are developing your own Business, or learning how to improve your professional position. We say this because we consider “delegating” that essential skill everybody talks about, but nobody thinks he needs to improve.
To delegate is authorizing other person to something that could be done by you. It is giving your position to other person for doing something that in the past was done or expected to be done by you.
You probably have heard about it a thousand times, but when you hear it, you probably imagine yourself being Exxon Mobile’s CEO with your feet on the table and think: “I would have no problem in delegating”.
However, when you have a group work, you rarely accept not to be right.
Delegating is, first of all, accepting that other people know something better than you do.
Again: it sounds easy but is not; and generally, the more technical the position the more difficult is to delegate.
Now, we’ll explain what we consider to be the two main types of delegation although they are closely related:
As simple as accepting your knowledge limitations.
Find somebody that knows better than you do (about whatever you are worried about) and listen to him.
It is amazing how lots of medium and large industries’ CEOs tend to fail in this particular aspect, not listening to their lawyers, their adviser or just expecting that their “divine” presence will solve everything.
Once the CEO/ Owner enters in this dynamic of not listening to the people surrounding him/her the company is doomed to failure.
We were in a business meeting in the north of Italy (gorgeous, as is all Italy) with the owner and CEO of an important Quarry company and his 3 advisors (one of them was also the CEO of a world recognized textile company).
Their numbers were impressive, the cash flow generated astonishing and the sales were from strength to strength.
We were analyzing to establish a joint venture with them to acquire another quarry company that was broken. Our plan was to buy the broken company at a good price (through a bond issue operation) restructure it, and sell it in the future.
The CEO was a bit impulsive and seemed that he didn’t wanted to hear some suggestions we made but there was a moment after he literally said that he “disagreed”, that surprised us.
He said: “I don’t agree with that; but since I don’t know very well what are you talking about, let me ask Marco (his advisor)”.
He turned his face towards his advisor, and speaking in Italian, his advisor explained him that he had to do what we just said because it was in important issue.
He then said: “Ok, so let’s do it. Marco says it is important. I didn’t know it“.
That little and important gesture is what makes the difference between success and failure.
*Finally we didn’t develop the operation due to external factors (a hedge fund made an offer before us) but we still remember that particular (and unusual) behavior years later.
This kind of delegation happens when you have the knowledge and technically you could develop certain task by yourself but since there is a lot of work involved and you are coordinating the overall group, you are “forced” to delegate.
It happens usually when a technician promotes and starts managing groups.
Usually the people in this situation tend to try controlling excessively every aspect of the project because they think they could do it better (and sometimes they can).
In these situations the manager must understand that if he/she made all the tasks involved there would be no project or it would take an eternity.
- If you have some “difficulties” delegating, think about this: it is better to finish the project first and once finished “polishing” it calmly under your personal supervision.
Sometimes, “done is better than perfect” because perfection is a utopia that never comes.
(by Sheryl Sandberg, with a little Consuunt addition).
We all have problems delegating in our day-to-day, and even more in our workplace.
You must honestly accept that you don’t know everything to start delegating certain decisions on people with more knowledge than you.
Also, when managing a working group, think about how would sound a Symphony if the conductor tried to play all the instruments. There would be no Symphony.