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Andi Gray: Letting others step up

Andi GrayIt’s hard to teach others how to do an exact act that you want performed. I struggle with handing things over to others because I know how it’s done, how I want it done and it often seems that someone else doesn’t grasp the importance of doing it the way I want it done, and in the time I want it done. Got any suggestions on how to let go and still get what I want?

THOUGHTS OF THE DAY: It can be hard for business owners to let go and trust that things will work out. Part of the solution is determining the outputs, rather than focusing on the inputs. Figure out who you can rely on by delegating pieces and finding out what happens, starting with small stuff. Let go of the “control freak” who lives deep inside just about every business owner, and instead embrace the freedom that comes from letting others step up and find their own way of achieving success on your behalf.

Most small-business owners have been doing things their way for a long time. They had to carry the burden of being working managers, especially in the beginning growth stages of the business. They’ve practiced and practiced, worn off the rough edges, found what they believe is the best way to do things. They have habits that make them comfortable and confident. And any disruption to those habits can be very uncomfortable for most business owners.

Letting others help, even if they do things differently, can free up a small-business owner to get more things done. Spreading out duties also creates backup in case the owner can’t come to work for some reason. It’s a matter of training people who you can trust to get to similar outcomes.

Focus on what you want to achieve, more than how you want it done. Sometimes letting others get creative with their approach can allow innovations to take hold. If there are concerns about how things are going, keep asking: “Is this going to get to a successful endpoint, even if we’re taking a different pathway to get from here to there?”

Everyone is good at some things, not good at other things. Asking someone who is good at accounting to step into a sales support role, or vice versa, might or might not work out. You want to find out who’s good at what, who’s willing to take on more, in which areas of the business. Don’t make assumptions. Start with small trials and build on the successful ones.

Most business owners live for control. They know what they want, when they want it, how they want it. And that attitude can often stifle people who are willing to provide support and innovate to find new, effective ways to get things done.

Set goals for what you want. Define milestones. Check in frequently to monitor progress.

Start by training someone. Tell them how you do it. Show them how you do it. Ask them to repeat the steps you’ve shown.

Once they’ve mastered the training stage, then back up and let them innovate to find their own way. This is where coaching comes into play. Ask how it’s going and talk through the challenges, but no more instruction on specifics of how to do it. Let your employee discover what works best for them.

Once the employee is successful delivering results at the coaching stage and no longer asking for coaching support, delegate. Back away from the project. Ask for a report on when the project will be done and what the outcome will be.

BOOK RECOMMENDATION: “Delegation and Supervision: The Brian Tracy Success Library,” by Brian Tracy.

Andi Gray is president of Strategy Leaders Inc., StrategyLeaders.com, a business-consulting firm that teaches companies how to double revenue and triple profits in repetitive growth cycles. Have a question for AskAndi? Wondering how Strategy Leaders can help your business thrive? Call or email for a free consultation and diagnostics at 877-238-3535 or AskAndi@StrategyLeaders.com. Check out our library of business advice articles at AskAndi.com.


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