“If you want to be the best, if you want to beat the rest, delegation is what you need.” Actually it was dedication that the late Roy Castle used to sing about on Record Breakers - a memory from my childhood. Yes I really am that old.
I have adapted the line because I actually believe that both dedication and delegation are both required. Most of those running their own businesses, whether retail or producers in my opinion have the dedication. Let’s face it we wouldn’t do the hours we do unless we were dedicated. But fewer of us are good at delegation!
Delegation is, however, essential if we are to grow our businesses. If every decision has to be either made or ratified by the business owners or directors it has two main effects 1) It stops the middle managers fulfilling their potential and taking ownership and 2) it makes the business owner/director go into burn-out. Both 1) and 2) stunt growth and increase frustration for all concerned. I remember in the early days of Cotswold Fayre taking a day off to go and watch England play test cricket - a less enjoyable experience than it is now as they were never winning at the time! I got a call from my general manager at the time to say that she had just sacked someone! I was chuffed to bits that she had made the decision without consulting me - although perhaps hadn’t followed the necessary HR protocol of the day! On an occasion even earlier than that I took what was a risk at the time and took three weeks holiday to travel around South-East Asia. When I came back a lot of the day-to-day tasks I had been doing at the time had been done just as well (if not better!) by those working for me! Having said that I don’t think I have taken three weeks off together since - maybe this is the year to do it.
If asked what has contributed to the success of Cotswold Fayre, I often mention delegation being a key, as I consider myself to be good at it - although my staff may call it “being dropped in it” - I hope not! However, I am by nature a perfectionist, as I am sure many others are as well. The danger with this is to think that you can always do the delegated jobs better than the delagat-ee! It is actually irrelevant whether this is indeed the truth, as the last thing to do is to pick up the job again. The ONLY way forward is to provide the training and insight required to do the job to the required level OR find someone else to do it.
Sorry is this blog is a little on the dry side without my normal wit and invention, but I strongly believe some of us are thinking too small. Delegate, think bigger and grow. There is never a better time to put expansion in place as at the bottom of downturn. So what’s stopping you! Now back to putting what I have just said into practice! I have averaged 1.75 days a week in the office this year so far, which means that the business is being run by my team and not me. That is not to say I am not working, I am - mainly at food events around Europe. The joy of high-speed internet everywhere these days means it doesn’t matter too much. Clearly there needs to be people management time - that also is essential to growth. I’ll be on my way back from France tomorrow to do just that!
Until next week….