Delegate Your Strengths When Your Team Expands

I spent an afternoon this week with the amazing Van Belle Nursery, who incidentally won two very prestigious global industry awards this year in Germany (gold for young plants and silver for finished plants).  They were the first company ever to win multiple awards in a single year.  Plus, they were competing with mega-companies that generate hundreds of millions of dollars in annual sales.

Did I mention they are my client?  Yes, it’s really all about me.  I digress.

So we discussed a concept together that is totally counter-intuitive.  Sit down in case you go into a swoon:

When your team is under 10 people, delegate your weakness; when it’s over 10, delegate your strength.

We all understand the concept of delegating away the things you’re bad at doing.  But delegating your strength?

Let me explain:

Let’s say you’re a great salesperson, and you lead the team in sales.  Naturally, as the team grows, no one worries about sales, because you’ve got that covered.  So, as time goes on and the team grows even more, you become a major risk factor to the team, and you stunt the growth of the area that you’re naturally good at.  If you don’t show up one morning, the team is dead.  No one shares your skillset.  So, you need to start training and mentoring people into your strength.

And how do you delegate?  In simple terms:

  1. You watch me do the job
  2. We do the job together
  3. I watch you do the job
  4. You do the job alone and report back on results
  5. You do the job

Who are you training and mentoring?  Who do you have on the bench to follow you?  The graveyard is filled with indispensable people.

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