By James Presnail, PGA of Canada and Director of Operations for Monaghan Golf Group
Businesses are born from an idea. An inspired person – or team – will take that thought and grow it into a profitable and smoothly running system. However, with growth comes responsibilities, and an evolution of vision. Effective managers must know when to give up control and allow their staff autonomy in the workplace without the fear of being hyper-managed or nitpicked. Delegation is the key to a successful business model that allows a manager the time to cultivate his or her vision and not get caught up in the nitty-gritty of every day operations.
Typically, businesses are made up of three parts: managers, employees, and customers. In a perfect world, this division of labour is a simple one. Managers live and breathe the companies’ vision, and they will develop a plan to execute it. They then utilize his/her employees to implement this plan, typically by providing a service or making a product to sell to their customers while earning a profit.
In this top-down model, managers usually design the pathway to the end goal and instruct their employees to follow it. It’s not surprising that the manager may be the most capable of executing this vision, as he/she was its creator. A popular saying is, “If you want something done well, do it yourself” and many choose to live by this mantra. However, this perception of management is a sure-fire way to stunt the growth of a business.
While managers may be the best facilitators of their plans, this all-consumed perspective will leave them without the necessary time or energy to develop new ideas to further the business. In order for a vision to evolve and grow with a changing marketplace, managers must keep planning, orchestrating and overcoming obstacles. After all, a manager only has two hands; it takes many hands to run a business smoothly.
This blog post came to me after an experience I recently had with my wife. Delegation ended up lightening my “manager’s” load, and in turn, greatly increased productivity in our household.
During an afternoon, there was a to-do list of three things that had to be accomplished in the span of an hour. The trouble was, each one of these tasks took about an hour to complete, and my wife was the one typically in charge of all three of these tasks: laundry, grocery shopping, and making corn tortillas.
One of these tasks was beyond my skillset, while the others - if you can believe it – were ones that I had tackled before. I may not have had the same panache as my wife when it came to getting these items completed, but I could muddle through.
So my wife did something that not only inspired me to write this post, but also left me feeling quite proud of her. She assigned me to the tasks of laundry and making tortillas while she went and did groceries. This was delegation in action. This was the start of a successful business! We had a vision, and the leader laid out the plan. She even left me clear directions on how to make the shells.
And sure enough, after an hour, there we were:
- The laundry was done. Clothes remained the same colour and size and were clean.
- The tortillas were done. They weren’t beautiful, but they were edible.
- The grocery shopping was done. My wife did it so, of course, it was done perfectly.
More hands get more done, this is a fact. Yes, the towels might have gotten washed in warm water instead of hot, and yes, perhaps my tortilla shells resembled more of an ink blob than a perfect circle... but this was ok! My wife was proud of me and my unintentional Mickey-Mouse- looking tortillas, because in the end they met their purpose: to be eaten.
In order to get more out of a team, managers need to do three things:
- Scour employees for skill sets, and assign them tasks that they are capable of taking on without requiring a manager’s constant supervision.
- Give clear, concise instructions, and then have faith that employees can get the job done. Be available for questions, but don’t hover over staff, nitpicking over details.
- Have quality standards, but realize that when a team is striving toward a vision, results may not be exactly how it was envisioned, and that has to be accepted.
The moral of this story: I’m looking forward to the day when I hear the boss say, “Kids, make the tortillas and do the laundry, I’m going grocery shopping... James, looks like you have time to go golfing.”
“Many hands make light work”... which leaves more time for golf!