Peter and I were talking during a Wise Help Session about what he called his “inability to delegate because it takes up too much time.” He said that giving up the things he already knows how to do requires more time and energy than just doing those things himself. He said, “It’s one little thing here and one little thing there, and it’s just faster for me to do it all.” He also said that he knew his beliefs about delegating needed adjusting, so we set about doing that.
Here’s the jist of what came from that conversation:
Defining “little things”
First I asked him what kinds of “little things” he was doing. He listed things like scheduling appointments with clients, light audio editing, posting to his blog, ordering and sending out client gifts, updating his bio on LinkedIn, and getting his monthly newsletter out.
It became apparent that, to Peter, “little things” really meant “things that were important, but not things that required his genius.” I also understood through the conversation that his sense of being able to do them quickly (since he already knows how to do them) played a big factor in his thinking he shouldn’t take the time to delegate.
So we began by shining a light on those two things. His beliefs about delegating those two things—that they were important but not his to do—was spot on and made a very good case for delegating. But his additional beliefs that the “little things” were getting done quickly was the sticky widget.
“Peter,” I said, “a little thing is picking up your pen. What you’re doing are bigger things comprised of little things. And you need to shift to seeing the things you’re doing as bigger things worth delegating.”
The real-deal on how much time it takes to do “little” things
To help him get there, I asked him to start keeping track of how much time he was spending on the little things. We had another call two weeks later, and he shared with me that his little things had taken him five hours. He admitted to being astonished.
“I typically do them between other things, or while waiting at an airport. I had no idea I was spending so much time doing this stuff.”
Suddenly, his view of the value of delegating shifted and he was 100% on board, but….
Letting go of control, finding the right VA, and making delegating easy-er
“I still think I can do them faster than it would take to teach someone else to do them the way I like them done, and then micromanage them in what they’re doing to make sure it’s right.”
I countered, “What if you didn’t have to micromanage, and what if I could help make the teaching simple and a one-time thing for you?”
He was excited about hearing more, so we discussed, first, that micromanaging is a need for control, spawned from distrust. I shared that trust needs time to grow in any relationship, and that, at first, in a relationship with a VA, he may still feel distrustful, but that if he chooses the right VA for him, that feeling should dissipate in a very short amount of time.
He said that he could imagine that being true, and so we discussed the kind of person who would be the right fit for him; someone with the right blend of hard and soft skills to get who he is, how he wants things done, and do them that way consistently.
“Ok. I can imagine that a person like that exists, and I can imagine that I might find her. But you said the training could be easy. And I’m very particular about how things are done. How do I manage those things?”
We discussed his being so particular. It turned out that some of that was due to his exacting nature and wanting to be sure that his brand voice was appropriately used in every interaction with people he touched in some way. And the “how” was, in part, because he was comfortable with the tech he was using and not sure he wanted anything to change.
I asked if he could imagine working with someone he trusted, and whose professional abilities he believed in, and not wanting her to suggest ways achieve the outcomes he wants better, faster, or less expensively? He chuckled. “Point taken. I can be open to “how” being different than it is now. But the brand voice, and the experience I want people to have…no way.”
Suddenly, the realization of how well-fitting the VA he worked with needed to be made perfect sense to him. On my side of the phone conversation, I loved feeling his energy change as he had shift after shift.
I suggested that he screencast all the “little” things he does, adding his voice to the capture so that context for things—the critical “whys” of it all that a VA supporting him would need to have—are part of what’s shared. Each video, then, shows his process, provides context for what he wants to have done and becomes its own training video for his VA.
I shared, “Having smart processes, whether on video or stepped out in writing, will mean that you might need to answer some questions, but you shouldn’t have to use your time to show and train, and your VA should be able to replicate what you do, every time. AND, since you’re already doing these things, for now, screencasting requires next to no extra time to do, and gives you something truly valuable.”
Peter was thrilled with the plan of creating screencasts for his VA, and committed to using those with someone he believed would be ideal for him and his business so that he could let go of the control he’d always imagined he’d need to retain.
I look forward to helping him find that wonderful VA when his screencasting project is complete.
Ending your struggle with delegating
I know that delegation and training issues plague many business owners. And whether Peter’s challenges match yours or yours are somewhat different, what I’d love for you to know is this: there’s always a solution that’s likely better than doing everything yourself. Reach out to someone who can help you look at the beliefs you’re trusting and think through how your situation could be improved with help, automations, and processes and procedures. Don’t let yourself stay stuck because of a belief. If I can help, let me know, either by leaving a comment here, or scheduling a session with me.