If there’s one change you can make in your practice to make more money while enjoying yourself more, it’s to delegate more. But just delegating isn’t enough. If you don’t delegate well, you could create a lot of harm.
Fortunately, delegating well isn’t rocket science. If you can fill a tooth you can delegate well. Just follow these four steps and you’ll be well on your way to better delegation.
1. Commit to delegating.
It might sound odd but you need to truly commit to delegating before you start. Delegating is uncomfortable at first. It will be stressful for a while. If you’re not truly committed to delegating you will end up giving up and right back where you started, overworked and underpaid.
You need to truly commit. Prepare yourself for something to not work. What will you do when something isn’t going well? Will you give up or try another way? When something doesn’t go well, try delegating differently. Do you need different instructions? Do you need to delegate that task to someone else? Be prepared to adjust from the start.
2. Keep track of your tasks.
Carry around a notepad and pen with you for a week. Write down everything you do.
Next to it, put a checkmark if someone else at your practice could theoretically do it. Notice the word theoretically. That’s important. You might not have the right person on staff right then. But if someone internally could theoretically do it, put a check. This might include operations, follow-up on tasks from entry-level team members, and other administrative things.
Next, circle the tasks someone externally could do. You can often outsource tasks externally to someone who performs that task all day every day, and for multiple clients. Their level of expertise is often much higher than yours could ever be. And they learn from other practices. They could share that knowledge with you. This could include something like bookkeeping or team training. (It could even include helping with delegation.)
Some tasks will have both a checkmark and be circled. Those are tasks someone internal could do but also someone external. Cleaning your office is a simple example of this.
Finally, put a star next to the tasks every time you perform it again. If you do something five times a day, it should have four stars. This helps you identify the tasks you perform most frequently.
3. Identify the right tasks to delegate.
At the end of the week, look at your list. What tasks do you perform the most that could be delegated internally or externally? Those are prime tasks for delegating or outsourcing.
Start raking those tasks. Take into account how frequently you perform the tasks, how affordable it is to pay someone else to do it, how well you do that task, and how much you enjoy the task.
If you perform a task five times a day that you don’t like and could delegate to someone at a lower pay grade, that should be a high priority item.
4. Follow the 30x rule.
In Procrastinate on Purpose: 5 Permissions to Multiply Your Time, Rory Vaden shared a story about an executive who sat with him on a plane who shared the 30x rule with him.
The 30x rule says if a daily task takes you 5 minutes to complete, be willing to spend at least 150 hours instructing someone else how to complete the task. After 150 minutes, they should be up to speed. It can take that long, which is why you need to be committed to the process.
Keep it simple. Choose the task you want to delegate and start internally, if possible. Identify a high-priority item you can delegate internally. Every time you perform the task, as the person to come alongside you and explain what you do and why. If it’s a computer task, use Zoom.us or Loom.com to record your screen for free while you talk through your reasoning.
Encourage them to ask questions and have them take notes. Then ask them to create instructions for the task to be done. It will stick better if they write out the instructions.
For outsourcing, identify tasks that can be performed by someone who performs the same task for other practices, such as cleaning or bookkeeping. Ask colleagues for referrals, and get started. They can often get up to speed very quickly and even improve your processes.
Are you ready to delegate more confidently?
If you want to run a higher-profit and more-fulfilling practice, you must be able to delegate well. These four steps can get you started right away.