I once worked with an MSP owner who boasted that he started his workday at 4 AM and didn’t stop until midnight. He was undoubtedly flirting with burnout, and if he’s holding so much of his business that close to his chest, I asked him what would happen when (not if) he would thoroughly exhaust himself? That’s a red flag.
One of the essential skills that MSP owners like him and other business leaders must learn is to delegate. When done well, more work gets generated and, more people join our teams, and everything expands.
How do we delegate effectively?
For many MSP owners, the most significant challenges fall into two categories. The first is the tendency to keep everything to ourselves under the assumption that no one knows your business better than you. No one can possibly have a better understanding, so we’re reluctant to let anyone else into the fold. And we are up until 4 am.
The other category is the taskmaster. Maybe you found someone eager to help and interested. They can check things off a list efficiently, and you end up piling tasks without a clear strategy to get them to advance in the larger scheme of your business. Plus, they end up as buried as you were. And that doesn’t work either.
The key is to create an organization that allows for delegation encouraging people to work effectively.
Start with time
Whatever the total amount of time that you and all your employees are spending doing tasks, being busy is all the available time dedicated to your business.
Take 10% of that time to design the business and figure out how to deliver more effectively and creatively. Ask yourself, what can you put together to make the business work more effectively? What procedures can you design that someone else can do for you or with you?
Create that repeatable model, and you will get back time in the long run.
A second component to the approach of time and delegation is to spend approximately 20% of your time doing just that and assigning tasks to other people and managing their ability to executing them.
The final component is the work. 70% of the time spent in the company is doing the work.
So in summary you will:
- 10% Design the system
- 20% Delegate to people
- 70% Do the work
You may find that a lot of your time is on design and delegation, spending very little time on actual “real” work, but that’s fine. That is the role of the MSP owner, the business owner, or investor in the business.
Allocate and collaborate
Delegating is more than handing over tasks to people who can rip through a to-do list. There is a collaborative element between you and your employee. During the process, you ensure the work is getting done and mentor them along the way.
There are four stages to coaching and getting them up to speed.
- Stage 1: Assign a task and keep all the decision-making to yourself.
- Stage 2: Assign the tasks and the responsibilities for decisions.
- Stage 3: Allowing them to determine the results that they complete.
- Stage 4: Company cohesion
Here’s an example:
You own a fireplace installation company. The first stage is assigning an employee to small tasks such as putting in screws here or there with specific directions.
That’s stage 1.
As they improve, they may choose which screws and what order with input from you along the way. You are still the buffer between the installer and the client.
That’s stage 2.
After some successful installations, you allow them to determine future installations’ results and be responsible for their part of the business.
That’s stage 3.
They own it. They do it. They deliver it.
It’s important to remember that this is a process. You need to cultivate their skills to get to the point where they can make a client as happy as you can.
Tasks ➡ Decision Making ➡ Outcome
Let’s talk about the final stage, and that is cohesion. Cohesion is the clear understanding of the values, the vision, and the mission of the company. The more your employees understand this, the more they can participate in the growth of your business. That’s stage 4.
The more your fireplace installer understands the whole experience of the fireplace, from manufacturing to client satisfaction, the more they can play a part in the company.
Notice the dynamic shift from the beginning stages where you are making the most effort with a minor portion of the work assigned to the employee. They are still involved in the process, but the endeavor is driven mainly by the employee with little input from the manager by the latter stages.
But to get there, you must bring people along on the journey.
How to delegate.
Have a clear explanation and vision of what the organization should look like and be: the values, the mission, the strategy. Everyone onboard can relate to what you are trying to do.
Second, create standard operating procedures.
When you have systems in place, you can determine the strengths of your team members and allocate accordingly.
Third, create metrics.
Keep your KPIs on the scorecard.
Fourth, focus on results.
This stage is about planning and pillars and communication of your vision. Instead of focusing on input, focus on whether the pillars are being delivered rather than the inputs.
Now that you know the hows let’s talk about the whats
What to delegate?
Start with the things you do not do efficiently and do not enjoy. And then look at other areas where you are inefficient, even if you enjoy them.
For example, even if you enjoy design, but you are not proficient, delegate that aspect to someone else. On the other hand, if you are efficient at building models but hate doing the work – delegate!
In addition, decide what you want to keep for yourself. What do you enjoy, do well, and execute efficiently? Now you have the delegation matrix in place.
Here’s a tip:
Take a week’s worth of activities, write them in your calendar, divide them into categories, and see where you can delegate. Tasks like email, people don’t enjoy it, it’s inefficient and takes time, but it’s pretty easy to delegate.
- What are the tasks you do weekly?
- What are the things you don’t like?
- Your inefficiencies?
As you delegate these tasks, you will be able to make time and focus on what matters most to you.
With this delegation matrix design for you, make sure you have your vision, your mission, and your values built; with those and your SOP in place, delegating is one of them.
Would you like our Delegation Matrix?
We at Start Grow Manage have created a delegation matrix template with instructions so that you can start delegating today.