Letting Go of the Banana: How Entrepreneurs Can Delegate Effectively (Delegation Matrix)
To introduce the delegation matrix, I’d like to start at the most logical place possible.
See, the way to catch a monkey is to put a banana in an immovable box. The box has a hole just big enough for the monkey’s hand. The monkey reaches inside for the banana, grabs it, and can’t remove its hand without letting go of it.
The monkey will not let go of the banana.
It will stay there, holding on to the banana until the trapper gathers it up, never letting go of it.
MSP owners are often like monkeys holding on to bananas.
I am talking about the tendency to hold on to everything, all the activities in the business, here.
Like the monkey refusing to let go of the banana, MSP owners often struggle with letting other people do the work.
You know that you shouldn’t hold onto everything, that the only way to “free” yourself is to let go of the banana, but you don’t do it. The belief that you can do it better, or it’s too hard to explain, won’t let you move.
The Monkey and the Banana: The MSP Owner’s Dilemma
The key to success is learning to let go.
You have a limited amount of time, and you should focus your efforts on those activities that you enjoy and are efficient at while also dedicating time to designing your business.
Only by designing your business and finding the time to do the design work can you create a business machine that allows you to get more while working less.
First, Identify Some Maximum Leverage Opportunities
To identify your maximum leverage opportunities, start by listing all the activities you do.
What are all the tasks or task areas that are up to you?
This might include everything from managing your calendar to creating social media posts. Once you have this list, use a four-quadrant matrix to categorize your tasks based on your enjoyment and efficiency in completing them.
The Four-Quadrant Matrix
Don’t Like & Inefficient: These are the tasks you dislike doing and are inefficient at completing. Delegate these first, as they’re likely draining your energy and time without contributing much to your success.
Don’t Like & Efficient: You may not enjoy these tasks, but you’re good at them. Consider delegating these next, as they’re still not aligned with your passions.
Like & Inefficient: You enjoy but struggle to complete these tasks efficiently. Delegating these can free up time for you to focus on your strengths and allow someone more skilled to handle them.
Like & Efficient: You enjoy and excel at these tasks, making them your maximum leverage opportunities. Focus your time and energy on these activities to drive your business forward.
Your task is to take each one of those tasks that you’ve identified and classify them into those four quadrants.
Once you’re finished, it’ll look something like this, just with your content, not mine:
Once you’ve identified the tasks to delegate, prioritize letting go of the ones in the “Don’t Like & Inefficient” quadrant.
In Monkey terms, these are the most irresistible bananas. Because:
- They are generally easy to do, so you might as well do them yourself.
- They are often low value, so paying someone else to do them hurts.
- Teaching someone else to do them seems tedious.
But these excuses allow you to keep your grip firmly on the banana and stay trapped in your box.
See, what we miss is the opportunity cost of doing the work yourself: by doing the easy work, you end up not doing the more valuable work, so you forgo the opportunity of that work.
It’s like you end up the assistant to the boss. But you are both the assistant and the boss, and since you don’t have enough time to do both, you end up being just the assistant.
Here’s the upside
Once you start delegating these activities, you will immediately free up time and energy to focus on your maximum leverage opportunities, which are of higher value and, therefore, worth more to your business.
Once you’ve delegated the first quadrant, the next step is to figure out what to delegate next. Decide whether you want to delegate tasks based on your enjoyment or efficiency.
We recommend focusing on tasks you enjoy.
Life is too short to do stuff you hate.
But you may find that there are some things that you like to do that you really shouldn’t do anymore. I shouldn’t do anything that has anything to do with graphic design. I like it, it’s fun, but it always looks terrible.
So you have to decide what works best for you.
What you don’t delegate is the stuff you like to do and are efficient at.
That’s where you add the most value.
When to delegate the work you like and are efficient at
Eventually, as you delegate tasks, you will find that even the work you like and are efficient at is too much.
So you do the matrix again and hone down even more.
Eventually, you may delegate yourself out of a job… then you can do whatever you want. Maybe you start another company and do it all over again.
Delegating tasks effectively can be a game-changer for entrepreneurs.
Using the four-quadrant matrix to identify which tasks to delegate, you can focus on your maximum leverage opportunities and drive your business to new heights. Remember, success often means letting go of the metaphorical banana – don’t let your reluctance to delegate hold you back.
We’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences with delegation. Do you find the matrix helpful? Share your comments below, and don’t forget to subscribe for more insights and strategies to help you succeed as an entrepreneur.