In a prior month, we talked about delegation. My friend DL, and co author of Salvaging Millions, shared a story with me about how his father delegated a task to DL early in his career. When DL first came into management, he was responsible for putting the numbers together for end-of-year projections. His father sent him back to the calculator more than once because he knew DL didn’t have the projections right.
Rather than do the work for him, his father insisted DL rethink the numbers until he learned to think them through properly and on his own. This is sound management and good delegation.
You want to train your delegates by having them go through the mistakes themselves. Make them do it. It’s time consuming in the short run, but it will create a winning team in the long run.
You don’t want just followers. You want accomplishers. Accomplishers are people who are capable of taking on a task themselves and completing it. You don’t create accomplishers by doing it for them. You must require that they learn what you are delegating.
Remember, the real gain for DL was the self-confidence he acquired as he matured from the experience. The praise was, “Now I know you can stick with it.” DL’s dad had helped his son cultivate the perseverance necessary for the tough management decisions that would come later. And, the habit of perseverance he established was every bit as important as getting the numbers right!
In one specific instance, to better illustrate, DL worked closely with his father while learning to forecast budgets. DL’s delegated responsibility was to explain the financials to his dad. During those times there were often differences between what had been budgeted and what was actually there. DL’s father would require DL to explain the difference. The father would not do it for the son.
“Well, it’s close,” DL would say. But his dad never accepted the term “close.”
“Why is it off? I want you to tell me why it’s off,” his dad would counter, especially on things like real estate taxes or insurance payments.
In this one instance, the figures on an insurance payment were double the projected cost.
“Maybe it’s just timing,” DL parried.
“No, it’s not timing because we thought that out in the budgeting process. Go back and analyze it until you can tell me why.”
On re-examination, DL found that the company had inadvertently made a double payment. It was $10,000 too much. It was an embarrassment for the young DL, but an incredibly valuable lesson. Had his father pointed it out to him rather than forcing him to find it himself, DL might never have learned the lesson. To this day, DL practices the same technique of requiring his people to work the numbers until they can explain any discrepancies. His managers learn to think through things and bring valid projections forward without wasting time. He has built a team of accomplishers by practicing sound delegation.
Don’t forget to go the website for my new book, www.greenweenies.com, to learn all the backroom business terms. There are 1,200+ terms in over 300 pages, with hilarious illustrations by world famous Gahan Wilson. You can register there for your free weekly “green weenie.” If you want to know what a three fingered booger is, or what’s in a train wreck envelope, it’s the only place to go!
Remember only you can make business great!
Ron Sturgeon, Mr. Mission Possible, has been a successful business owner for more than 35 years. As a small business consultant, he can deliver wisdom and advice gleaned from an enviable business career that started when he opened a VW repair business as a homeless 17-year-old and culminated in the sale of several businesses he built to Fortune 500 companies.Ron has helped bankers, lawyers, insurance agents, restaurant owners, and body shop owners, as well as countless salvage yard owners to become more successful business people. He is an expert in helping small business owners set the right business strategies, implement pay-for- performance, and find new customers on the web.
As a consultant, Ron shares his expertise in strategic planning, capitalization, compensation, growing market share, and more in his signature plainspoken style, providing field-proven, and high-profit best practices well ahead of the business news curve. Ron is the author of nine books, including How to Salvage More Millions from Your Small Business.
To inquire about consulting or keynote speaking, contact Ron at 817-834-3625, ext. 232, rons@MrMissionPossible.com, 5940 Eden, Haltom City, TX 76117.