Every good PPC manager, whether you’re part of an in-house team or part of an agency, has had to delegate. While writing PPC Habit #3 – Put First Things First I was impressed that delegation needed the attention only a full post could provide.
Delegation Is Multiplicative
Delegation has always been a struggle for me. I have a bad case of “I can do it faster & better than anyone else”-itis. But that’s the problem. There’s only one “I” around.
With delegation you’re seeking to multiply your efforts. You might be the fastest campaign creator in the whole world, but if you have tasks that are more important than campaign creation you need to delegate that task.
The first time it will take longer because you’re training/assigning the task. You need to provide clarification, answer questions, etc. so it gets done right, but since it’s not you doing it, it will take longer. The point you have to remember is that while someone else is doing that task, you’re working on higher priority tasks that can’t be delegated.
Two Types of Delegation
This is the first level of delegation. You tell the person what to do and have them report back when they’re done. Most likely you’re like the helicopter parent as you hover over the teammate that you delegated the task to in order to ensure it gets done correctly. Your focus is almost entirely on methods; the how. You lose the leverage.
Admittedly I’m still mostly in this phase. Sure it becomes easier as you delegate a repeatable task because you don’t have to explain the methods again, but you’re missing out on the leverage you could be achieving.
To gain the maximum leverage from delegation you need to give stewardship when you delegate. The connotation of giving is appropriate here because you really have to transfer ownership of the task to someone else. You focus on the results; the what. There are 5 key ingredients to stewardship:
- Desired Result – You must first communicate what is to be accomplished. Both parties must mutually agree on what KPIs or metrics will determine success.
- Guidelines – If there are parameters within which the task must be accomplished, these must also be clearly communicated. However, the fewer guidelines the better. It will empower the individual.
Oh, and tell them what failures you’ve already seen. As the saying goes, “A wise man learns from his mistakes. A wiser man learns from the mistakes of others.” Make them wiser from the start.
- Resources – Communicate what assets are available to draw upon, whether that’s another team member, yourself, tools, or financial assets.
- Accountability – You’ve communicated the desired result. Now you need to set up a time for reporting and how that reporting is to be done. Follow through here is critical, yet often overlooked.
- Consequences – Remember that consequences are both good & bad. Clearly delineate what happens if the desired result is met (rewards) and what happens if the desired result is not met. Knowing up front makes things a lot easier down the road for all parties involved.
My Experience With Stewardship
During college I spent a couple summers working on my Dad’s farm in Idaho. One of my main responsibilities was our commercial garden. We grew tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, squash, lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, potatoes, okra, onions, etc. that we sold at local farmers’ markets.
At the beginning of the season my Dad and I sat down to define my stewardship over this part of the farm. He described how the desired result was to increase production over last year. He provided me with sales numbers from the previous season to define very specifically what that meant.
We had guidelines about how the garden should look (weed free), what produce would be grown, etc. He also laid out the resources I could draw upon, including what ground was available, how to obtain starts & seeds, water, fertilizer, help from my siblings and other employees, etc. Going through this process I was able to ask a lot of questions to ensure I understood.
The accountability was to happen throughout the season by tracking progress compared to the numbers from the previous season. The consequences we set up included a profit sharing plan whereby we shared in both the risk and the reward.
Both summers I was able to significantly grow the garden operation and it ended up being a great success. Two points stand out to me:
- My dad gave me very few guidelines, so I was able to experiment and feel real ownership. I could try different pricing models, different layouts at the market, etc. which lead to some insights that still benefit the operation today.
- Because I had the numbers from previous years I could very closely monitor my own success and pace myself accordingly. The feelings of success were almost as rewarding as the financial windfall from the profit sharing. I’m still very proud of my efforts to this day.
Delegation has the power to leverage both your personal skills as well as the skills of numerous other people. As you move from Gofer Delegation to Stewardship you’ll unlock even more potential while empowering those around you to excel.