management Archives - TAB Corporate

4 Ways to Overcome Your Fear of Delegating

Job Allocation Concept

One of the biggest obstacles to growth in a small business arises when the owner is unwilling to delegate.  At a certain point, a successful business becomes too large and too complex for one person to manage, regardless of how smart, industrious and passionate that individual is. And while on an intellectual level business owners know when the time has come to loosen their grip, they still have a hard time putting that idea into action. Here are four things to consider that will make delegating an easier pill to swallow:

1. Mistakes Won’t Kill You

Attention to detail is a good quality in any business, but when it turns into perfectionism, an intolerance or fear of any error whatsoever, this good quality becomes an enormous handicap.

Owners are sometimes reluctant to delegate because they fear others are more likely to make mistakes. They don’t know the business as well. They don’t care as much. They aren’t as smart. But even if this is true, the only way to gain experience and smarts and passion is to have responsibility.

Very few mistakes are fatal to a business. Very few are irreversible. In fact, many mistakes can be turned into opportunities and every one of them can be a teaching moment. This is the mindset an owner must have in order to delegate comfortably – along with doing a few other things that we will touch on now.

2. Put a System of Checks in Place 

Delegation is not an all-or-nothing proposition. For instance, an owner should not completely disengage from the purchasing function simply because he or she has appointed a purchasing manager. This approach has gotten a lot of potentially successful businesses in a great deal of trouble. Instead, the owner should put in place an organized system of regular reviews and spot checks to ensure that work is being executed properly and diligently.

For a manager to get into perfect alignment with an owner—to understand how he or she thinks and what is expected in terms of creativity, initiative and results—can take months or even years. Without regular interactions with the owner over time, any manager is being set up for failure, and by the time the failure is recognized, it may be too late for the manager and the business.

The art of being the owner of a midsized business involves transitioning from managing all of the details to directing all of the details by managing only a few of them. When an owner has this skill there are no limits to how large the business can grow or how successful it becomes.

4 Ways to Overcome Your Fear of Delegating

3. Invest in Training

The smartest of the smart owners surround themselves with people who are even smarter. Moreover, such owners are continuously seeking ways to make their management teams even smarter, with outside training programs, internal mentoring programs, cross-training and scores of other approaches.

If a newly appointed manager is working at “C” efficiency on day one, this is a minor concern. However, if the manager is working at “C” efficiency six months into the job, then this is a serious problem and one that may have been solved—and may still be solved—through training.

4. Delegate to the Right People

Training is not always the answer, because lack of training is not always the problem. Many owners are comfortable delegating only to people they trust which, in and of itself, is not a bad thing. Many times, though, the person to whom they entrust an important part of the business lacks the background, skills and raw talent to fill the role adequately.

Trust is certainly a big part of the delegation equation, but business qualifications must also be given a great deal of weight. To prevent putting square pegs into round holes, establish a clear set of qualifications for the position before considering any candidate, no matter how loyal.

The Real Fear

Reflecting on these ideas, it may be apparent that what is to be feared is not delegation but, rather, delegation without tolerance for error, without review, without training and without a sensible hiring/internal promotion strategy. This latter situation is indeed something to be feared — but is entirely avoidable for owners who recognize the pitfalls of a poorly organized approach to building a management team.

Rather than dwell on the (avoidable) downsides of delegation, owners can happily consider its many upsides. When a strong management team is in place, owners gain more time to interact with customers and suppliers, think about the big picture, develop new ideas to make the business thrive, and even take some well-deserved vacation time. All of these activities—even the vacation— serve to make a business prosper year in and year out.


Brad Shorr is the B2B Marketing Director of straightnorth.com, a digital marketing agency near Chicago. With agency and freelance experience, he writes frequently about business and marketing strategy.

 

How To Create a Strategic Plan for Your Business

Strategic Planning

Are you hoping to invest more time into growing your business instead of getting bogged down by day-to-day business challenges? In our last article, we put the spotlight on the most important tool for refocusing your energies on your company’s core goals: strategic planning. We concentrated on what a strategic plan looks like, and we detailed the reasons it’s a necessary tool in order to successfully manage your organization. We also provided details from the most recent Small Business Pulse Survey showing the real-world advantages of the strategic planning process.

This time out, we’re focusing on a strategic planning template that will help you to craft your own strategic business plans. TAB’s Strategic Business Leadership® (SBL) process provides an effective
framework for transforming your personal vision of your company into a clear and concise road map that will help to guide your organization’s response to every new challenge and opportunity. The SBL strategic planning process is designed to help small- and medium-sized businesses develop practical strategic plans with attainable, measurable goals. Use your “big picture” focal points to meet today’s business challenges with SBL’s five-step strategic planning template:

  1. Align organizational vision with your personal vision.
  2. Turn a critical eye toward your business.
  3. Develop the plans needed to meet your goals.
  4. Carry out your plans.
  5. Continually evaluate and adjust your plans as business conditions change.

The Five-Step SBL Strategic Planning Template

  1. Vision. To develop a truly effective strategic plan, you’ll first need to take an honest look at what you want to get out of your business. Develop a written Personal Vision Statement, one that details what you’d like to see your business strive towards and how that connects with your goals for your personal life. This isn’t a statement you need to share with employees, investors or customers, so be honest with yourself: are you hoping to sell the business? Bring in new management? Turn the company over to your son or daughter? After you answer these questions, you can develop a Company Vision that will ensure your management team and employees understand your team’s common goal.
  2. Analysis. Next, you’ll need to detail the features of your company and the business challenges that loom on the horizon. One proven method for accomplishing this is the SWOT analysis for identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Assess the things your company does best, and consider the areas where you fall short. Ask yourself about the characteristics that make your company unique, and describe the way your customers truly view your organization. Then identify emerging technologies or markets that might provide new opportunities going forward. Finally, make note of external factors that could cause trouble in the future, such as new regulations or competitors.
  3. Plan. You’ll need to detail critical success factors, goals, strategies and action plans as part of the SBL strategic planning template.
    • Critical Success Factors. Identify your organization’s most important large-scale objectives to help direct your efforts.
    • Goals. Set up concrete goals that can be achieved within one to three years. If your Critical Success Factor is expanding your product line, for example, you could set a goal of developing two new products within the next 18 months.
    • Strategies. Develop guidelines that will help you to meet your goals. In the above example, that might include allocating more resources to your R&D department to facilitate product development.
    • Action Plans. Produce a plan of action that meets SBL’s “S.M.A.R.T.” criteria: your plan must be Specific, Measurable, Actionable, assigned to a Responsible party, and fit within a set Timeline.
  4. Take action. A plan won’t do you much good if you and your team let it sit idle.
    Focus on effective communication to make sure you meet your goals. Your whole organization needs to understand the direction you’re heading and the role they’ll play in making sure you reach your destination. You’ll also need to review and modify your plan as often as possible (preferably weekly), which will allow you to factor in new and unforeseen developments. Also, remember that growing your business will require your full participation. As the business owner, you’re ultimately responsible for ensuring that your company moves towards your objectives.
  5. Turn the Wheel. The last factor in the SBL strategic planning template is what we refer to as “Turning the Wheel.” You didn’t become a business leader because you wanted to stick with the status quo or let others guide your fate. Take ownership over your company’s progress. If things are veering off course, review your plan and revise it. If you need to change course to respond to the loss of a major client or as a result of difficulties acquiring capital, you’ll need to embrace your role as a leader. If you remember that your strategic plans will need to be dynamic and malleable, you’ll be better prepared to respond to the unexpected and to chart a new path forward.

The strategic planning process is an essential part of any company’s decision-making process. Regardless of your level of experience, and no
matter how large or successful your organization is, TAB’s SBL strategic planning template can help you to excel when faced with tomorrow’s business challenges. You’ve got a finite supply of business resources, and you’ll use them best when you move forward with purpose and conviction. Start the strategic planning process today.

What would you consider the most important aspect of a cogent business strategy? Comment below to let us know what you’d need to include in your strategic plan.