Don’t Be Vain, The Song is NOT About You: Delegation for the Busy Law Firm Owner part 1

Hello (first name),

I’m about to be an old man yelling at clouds, so be prepared.

I have nothing against flying, but I HATE the entire process of getting on a plane.  As you know, my one bougie dream (or at least the bougiest) is to fly private so I can just show up, get on the plane and head out.

To make matters worse, on (I think) every flight I have booked in the last 2-3 years…the time I originally book is NEVER the time we leave.  We always get randomly reassigned to an awful flight time that I specifically didn’t pick when I first bought the flight.

That being said, this most recent time, my assistant grabbed the 2 other options available and made her best guess for which flight I would prefer now that the flight I actually wanted isn’t an option.

End of rant.  It was great.  The power of delegation.  Now I want to make sure you have this power going forward.

Because, when we think of iconic teams, Batman and the Bat Family, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, or even Harvey and Mike (for those who indulge in "Suits"), there's a silent superpower behind their teamwork: the art of delegation. 

Whether it’s Princess Leia having the Rebels attack the Death Star, Nick Fury getting the Avengers together, or Danny Ocean setting up the team for that last big score…there is ALWAYS someone delegating out the work to the rest of the team to make sure the crazy cool stuff we could NEVER do on our own gets done.

(title) What NOT to Delegate

Embrace the "Two-Minute Rule" from Getting Things Done: If it takes under two minutes to do, or it’s only going to be done once… take charge and just do it yourself.  

Remember, your time is a precious commodity.  So think about 30x.  Can you explain it in less than 1/30th the time to do it?  Great, then do so.  

Or can you explain it once and then it will be done 30 or more times?  Great, then build that SOP and pass it along.

(title) The BEST Way to Delegate Something

I went into this deeper on a recent presentation with Libby Luff (tag) from PracticePanther (LINK TO THE GATED PAGE HERE)

  1. You do it a few times
  2. Once you’re happy with it, record yourself doing it
  3. Give it to the person who will take over this task
  4. Have them do it a few times
  5. Discuss the process and finalize it
  6. Have them do it record it
  7. Write it out also and put it into your SOPs

You’ll still need to come up with when to review the process and edit it, but this will get you 95% of the way there to getting stuff off of your plate.  And if you watch that webinar we go into all of that in more detail.

Pro-tip = During step 3, make sure they can repeat back to you what they THINK you said about how to do this.  Think of it like a gangster telling another gangster to “take care of (someone)”.  Do you want them to show the person a great night and pick up the bill, or kill them in the desert and hide the body?  It’s unclear.

This is great for the big stuff that you do OVER and OVER again.  But what about for more custom work?

(Title) What do you ACTUALLY want them to do?

For these types of project you have to do 2 different things

  1. Set the End Goal

When you tell your assistant to fill out this form do you REALLY want them to just do that?  Or do you want them to book you for a podcast and the form is just one part?  Set the right outcome (another GTD shout out) and it will be easier for them to see how that one task plays a role in the whole project.

  1. Determine what Level of Work you Want

HUGE thanks to Ari Meisel for the 6 Levels of Delegation, not that he told them just to me, but I love the levels so much and I am just going to quote them here

Level 1: Do As I Say

Delegation is fundamental but requires mastery, as entrepreneurs may struggle to let go and end up doing tasks themselves. Trusting employees is crucial to effective delegation, though some employers find it difficult when they maintain total control without seeking feedback.

Level 2: Look Into This For Me

In this type of delegation, the decision-making authority remains with the delegator, who can provide reasoning to workers but doesn't seek discussion. An example is when the delegator assigns a worker to research and gather information on a potential purchase, enabling an informed decision-making process.

Level 3: Give Me Your Advice. Then I’ll Decide

In this level of delegation, the employer seeks advice and input from employees before making a decision. It involves discussions where employees provide their research findings, opinions, and advice, enabling a collaborative decision-making process. Delegates are expected to conduct thorough research and form independent opinions to effectively advise their employer.

Level 4: Explore, Decide, and Check Back With Me
This level of delegation involves the employer deciding on a strategy, informing the team, and granting them authority to take action unless stated otherwise. Team members have increased responsibility and must convince the employer of the wisdom behind their decisions before implementation. This approach saves time for the delegator, who only needs to provide a brief and approve final actions.

Level 5: Explore and Decide, Within These Limits
In this type of delegation, team members have complete control over a task, including making the final decision. It can liberate workplaces from indecision and keep workflows moving. The delegator needs to have a high level of trust in the team, and workers will appreciate the trust shown to them. This approach requires minimal time investment from the delegator.

Level 6: Just Get It Done

The final and most extreme level of delegation involves entrusting a task completely to a team or team member without seeking any details or involvement. This level demonstrates the highest level of trust and autonomy, showcasing faith in the employees' competence. The delegatee has full control and accountability for the task's success, making it the highest level of delegation that requires minimal time from the delegator.

Now that you’ve set the expectation, made a quick video, told them what to expect and what you really want out of them…what’s left?

You need to give it to them and see what happens.  

Next week we will go into what to do after it is done to make sure it’s done correctly, the system works better, and you're delegating the right amount of stuff. 

Until then have a wonderful weekend!

Upgrade Your Life.

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