Friday, April 26, 2013

Focus on Your Strengths and Delegate Your Weaknesses

The rules in the Gates-Grottveit household are simple: last one out of the bed makes it; keep non-food things off the kitchen counters where food is prepared; feed Blade (the younger puppy) at 5:30 pm, and feed Vader (the adult dog) and Bella (the elderly cat) at 6:30 pm; and he/she who is better at something is the one who does that thing. What that means, practically speaking, is that Ann handles the finances and I handle the laundry. Ann cleans inside the house, I clean outside the house.  Ann handles our family social activities, I handle the maintenance and upkeep of our cars. You get the drift.
(Vader - larger and Blade - smaller)
Simple, right? Ann would fade and shrink and discolor our clothing, and she can’t iron at all. I would quickly, stylishly, bankrupt the Gates-Grottveit conglomerate by buying everything and anything that suited my fancy at the time. We’ve learned that it’s best and things run the most efficiently and smoothly if we each stay in our respective lanes.  There are some caveats to this, however. We reserve the right to delegate these tasks to our 13 year-old boy-child, and our almost 11 year-old girl-child for the sake of their development. Face it, they’ll both need to learn to cook, manage their own finances, and clean, etc. What better learning laboratory for those domestic tasks is there than the home, right?  

Now don’t get me wrong… We don’t totally abdicate these tasks to the other. We have a system of checks and balances that keep each other “honest” and informed.  Absolute power does corrupt absolutely, and all that. There’s also the “in case you’re hit by a bus” contingency as well. We have regular briefings to keep each other updated on the goings-on of the other’s area of expertise.  I call that oversight.

Ultimately, we are each responsible to the other for the conduct of the business that is our marriage and our household. Yes, I said it... Marriage IS a business.

The same holds for more conventional business. If there’s an area of your business, be you an owner, a senior-level executive, a director or manager, or a staff member or associate, if there’s something you’re not good at, DELEGATE it to someone who is. The caveat to that is, especially applicable to those at the staff-associate level, you may well have to get training and acquire that expertise yourself. Otherwise, you’ve been hired, selected, appointed, or otherwise chose to embark on that path because of your qualifications and potential, so if there’s a specific aspect you’re not good at, get help and get someone in there to manage that for you.

As with the example for my home-life, that delegation does NOT mean abdication. You remain responsible for everything your enterprise does and everything it fails to do. You’ve got to check, follow-up, insure, question, and all the other common-sense things that go along with delegation. 

You’ll find that doing this makes you a better, more effective leader, business-owner, staff-member, associate (not to mention partner or husband/wife). You’ll have more time to think, to plan, to expand and to execute your vision.

That’s the point!

  - Tony