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Delegate Your Way to Success - Part 1 of 3

Ronald Reagan said it best:

“The greatest leader isn’t necessarily the one who does the greatest things. The greatest leader is the one who gets the people to do the greatest things.”

Here is my version, tweaked for entrepreneurs:

“If you don’t delegate, your business will never realize its potential. And, you won’t have a life outside your company.”

Having the right people and then delegating to them ... these are the “one-two punch” of business success and having a life.

Why delegate? Simply put, you can’t do it all, so don’t even try.

If you don’t delegate, you will quickly become a servant to the business. You’ll become embroiled in every aspect of the company. The demands on your time will exceed your availability, will tax your ability to juggle responsibilities and will stunt your company’s growth.

I fell into this trap early in my career as an entrepreneur. Before I learned to delegate, I was the single biggest obstacle to my company’s success. I should have been thinking about strategy and focusing on the big picture. Instead I was doing simple tasks better handled by others. In the words of my favorite motivational speaker, Jim Rohn, I was “majoring in minor things.”

When you delegate:

  • You show trust in others. This is good for morale.

  • You develop others’ skills. This is good for the business.

  • You free up your time so you can do “CEO stuff” and have a life. This is good for the business and good for you.

What do I mean by “CEO stuff”? Goal setting, planning, and executing. And taking care of your people: You’re there to oversee, guide, train, educate, motivate, inspire and lead.

You may be one of those business owners who believes “nobody can do it as well as I can.” You may be right. But the key to business success does not lie in you doing everything. In fact, “you doing everything” stands smack dab in the way of business success. We’re right back to hiring the right people. Put the right folks on your team, train them and trust them. Maybe they won’t do it as well as you. Then again, maybe they’ll surprise you.

Here’s some food for thought about “nobody can do it as well as I can.” Let’s say your company does some sort of repair service, and you’re the best technician in the place. You can personally generate $10,000 service revenue per month. Your employees are good and meet your customers’ expectations, but can only bring in $7,500 each. You can do it yourself and have your time monopolized. Or, you can multiply your effectiveness and have several (or even dozens) of others doing it while you oversee the operation and enjoy the results. Two people at $7,500 each equals $15,000. Five people can generate $37,500.

In this example, not a single person to whom you delegate is as good as you. So what?

One other argument that some small-company CEOs make goes something like this: “I’m not too good to do the work around here. I don’t want my people to think I’m acting like a big-shot. I feel that I should be rolling up my sleeves and working right alongside my staff.”

Delegating is not about being a big-shot or lording over people. Everyone in every organization has a job. If you’re the CEO, your job is providing direction and strategy for the company. The smaller the company, the more hats you and everyone else must wear. But as you grow – in fact, if you want to grow – get used to wearing fewer “doing” hats and more “thinking” hats.

Before you start -or continue – to perform a task, ask yourself,
“Is this the best use of my time and talents?”


Continually ask yourself,
“Am I spending so much time doing that I’m not spending enough time goal-setting, planning, strategizing, leading, learning, and training?”

In part 2 of this 3 part series, we’ll continue to explore why - and most importantly how - to effectively delegate.

Part 2 > 


Bill Collier is the author of “How to Succeed as a Small Business Owner … and Still Have a Life” and is the St. Louis area coach for The Great Game of Business. He helps businesses teach their employees to think and act like owners. He can be reached at 314-221-8558 or



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