Many people find that delegating is easier said than done.
I’ve spent the last few years doing everything from hosting growth-focused dinners around the world, to speaking at conferences on today’s most important digital marketing topics. As a result, I’ve been fortunate to get to know a number of top marketing experts and learn how they stay at the top of their game.
One really interesting thing has emerged for me from all these conversations. All of these marketing experts – whether they focus on SEO, PPC or any other promotional method – share one surprising thing in common.
It isn’t some particular marketing tactic that they all focus on. It isn’t that they all use the same time management strategy or planning calendar.
What’s struck me is that – nearly universally – all of the today’s top marketers have figured out where they’re able to have the biggest impact on their campaigns and companies, and how to delegate the rest to others.
If you want to be as effective as they are – whether you’re a marketer yourself or a professional in any other field – you’ve got to take a page out of their playbooks and learn to delegate.
Ok, so this one is kind of self-explanatory. But take it from Jayson DeMers, who shares:
“Whether you’re a team leader, an entrepreneur, or in some similar position of authority, delegation is going to be a major key to maximizing your productivity and keeping yourself sane during tight deadlines or large workloads.”
When you delegate, you do more than just free up your own time to focus on the tasks where you’re using your best skills to move the needle for your campaigns. By inviting others to step up, you’re able to take advantage of their expertise and ultimately grow a more sustainable, scalable organization than one that’s constantly held up by your limited availability.
That said, plenty of people find that delegating is easier said than done. Manager Tools shares data from a Conference Board report that suggests that, while “66% of managers say they would like to increase their use of delegation as a time management and personnel development tool,” 78% of personnel believe that their managers “do work that would be more effectively done by someone at my level.”
How to delegate effectively
If you’re still holding tight to the reins of your business yourself, start with the easy wins. Look for tasks that can be easily automated – whether that’s your bookkeeping, your meeting scheduling or your proposal communications.
Once you’ve taken these steps, you’ll find yourself facing a more difficult challenge: how and when to delegate the important tasks that remain. Deep Patel explains why this is so challenging:
“Anyone thrust into a leadership position will feel compelled to take on more than they can realistically handle. After all, that’s the easiest way to prove that you not only talk the talk but walk the walk. You tend to say yes to anything that comes your way because you want to prove your competency.”
We’ve got to move past this kind of thinking. Your time and your mental energy are limited. It’s time to stop wasting them on tasks that could be handled just as well by someone else.
To truly delegate effectively, you have known – at a deep level – what your best skills are and how they should be used in service of your organization. Dale Lavinsky suggests thinking of this process in terms of the Pareto Principle, which argues that 20% of your efforts drive 80% of your results. Delegating effectively, therefore, requires identifying which of your tasks constitute this 20%.
According to Lavinsky:
“The first way to determine which 20 percent of work you do yield 80 percent of the results is to think back. What were the most important projects you completed last year that propelled your company forward? Your answers will include the types of projects that belong in your top 20 percent and which you should continue to do.”
Though this exercise might sound simple, it can be deceptively difficult to implement. Spend some time answering this question now, but set aside more time in the future to revisit your responses.
As you begin shifting tasks off of your plate that don’t fall into your 20%, you’ll learn more about where you are – and aren’t – effective. Use this ongoing wisdom to continually revise your list of tasks to delegate. In this case, practice might not make perfect right away, but committing to reserving your energy and resources for your highest-priority tasks will dramatically increase your productivity and effectiveness in the long run.
DISCLAIMER: This article expresses my own ideas and opinions. Any information I have shared are from sources that I believe to be reliable and accurate. I did not receive any financial compensation in writing this post, nor do I own any shares in any company I’ve mentioned. I encourage any reader to do their own diligent research first before making any investment decisions.