“Ten tips for creating a perfect business.” Or maybe nine?

The estimable Gill Cardy has posted a list, originally produced by Holt PR, of the aforementioned ten tips –  http://ow.ly/jcA9C.

I don’t think anyone much could argue with nine of them, but one hits me in a place that was sore through all the years that I had jobs which involved managing people.  It says:

5. Delegate, delegate, delegate
We surround ourselves with people, but don’t delegate. Just because you think it’s a rubbish job, it doesn’t mean it’s a rubbish job for somebody else.

I’m not stupid, and I can see that the case for delegation is overwhelming.  If you don’t delegate, then, among other things:

–  Your business will be unable to grow beyond your own capacity;

–  You will become exhausted and miserable;

–  You won’t get the best out of all those lovely and expensive people you’ve hired;

–  The lovely and expensive people will become demoralised and will leave.

No-brainer, huh?  You’d be nuts to let all those terrible things happen.  But the trouble is, the case against delegation is pretty overwhelming too, especially when you take into account various practical, shorter-term, real-world issues:

–  Delegating work to other people is often miles slower than doing it yourself, especially when they need briefing and rebriefing two or three times.  Most jobs are horribly urgent.  We just don’t have time for this.

–  Delegating work to other people can easily take up more of your own time than doing it yourself.  Briefing – or at least briefing well – is a time-consuming business.  So is reviewing the stuff.  And rebriefing.  And re-reviewing.  And re-rebriefing.  All this can make you even more exhausted and miserable.

–  Quite frankly, you’ll probably do it better than the people you could delegate to. In a business where the truest cliche is that your agency is only as good as its last piece of work, are you sure that you want it to be less good than it could have been?

–  Equally frankly, and perhaps especially in smaller businesses, it may well be that the clients appointed you because they wanted you to do it, not the newly-hired junior team.    They may not be very happy if they know that’s what happened.

Don’t get me wrong.  As I say, I’m not stupid, and in the end, most of the time, I recognise that the arguments in favour of delegation are that little bit more overwhelming than the overwhelming arguments against.  And as a result, during my agency years, I really wasn’t a bad delegator.

But for the last two and a half years, in my role as the Entire Workforce of Lucian Camp Consulting, I’ve had no-one to whom I can delegate the stuff which I think I can do well myself.  And I must admit, regardless of that advice from Gill and Holt PR, I am kind of liking it like that.


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