Top Tips For Delegation

With the set up of a few simple systems, you can get off to the best start with your virtual assistant. Find out what they are in this episode of Savvy Sessions.

Welcome to Savvy Sessions #27.

In this episode we are going to be talking about delegation. We've got Lance Jensen along with us again. Lance, how about you tell us a little bit about how you choose to delegate,  your best tips for encouraging others to be able to delegate and how you've refined that process over the time.

I guess I'm a big believer that you cannot do anything without support. But if you don't delegate well, everything turns to custard. So it's a topic that comes up a lot with clients, either with their existing team or with a virtual assistant. It's kind of the same process and most people do it very, very badly. I used to. So most of us know what we want done. We tell someone once, they're not inside our head, they get half the information and it's not uncommon for them to get it wrong. Then obviously the relationship gets weird and things get hard. So for me delegation is a process, it's a... I'd say it's a topic that comes up a lot. There's four steps and if people actually follow those steps for every new task, it can be incredibly effective. Then, as far as I'm concerned, delegate as much as you possibly can. There are four steps:

Show someone, get them to do exactly what you've told them, that way they actually get a chance to do exactly what they're told. And you get to see that they're doing it. 

Next time they go through it, give them some background, some context, some understanding as to why you've got them to do the things the way you've got them to do it in the first place. 

Step three is let them do it and observe, make corrections as you go, again you're adding more background knowledge. 

Once you've been through those three steps, then the task is essentially delegated. They can run with it because they've got that background, they've got those variations, they've got some of your inside thinking and they can come to you if and when there's a challenge or an issue. 

So, I'd say it's a process. You've got to go through those four stages with every new task. It can be incredibly quick, but most people do step one and then step four and wonder why it all turns to custard. It's a topic I have to cover off a lot and keep reminding people that this is something new. You've got to go through the process again. But Jo is absolutely fantastic at delegating, she delegates well, pretty much everything. I think she even delegates more than I manage to. So I'll let her talk about what can be delegated. 

So Jo tell us, obviously, you've been doing this for a long time, eight odd years, so you've probably got some amazing tips of people delegating and how to do it.

The first thing that I want to say is that you have to have a really easy way that suits you and your virtual assistant of how you're actually going to give that task to them. Because the less barriers there are between you and your delegation of the task, the better. And that's all about using the right tools. So it could be that everything that you delegate, you're going to do it on WhatsApp because you always have your phone with you and you like using the voice record button, and that's how you're going to send all of the tasks that you want done to your virtual assistant. And now if you just listen to Lance, this is when you get to the last step where you're actually showing and going through something with someone. This is just the right we're in a flow now and I'm just going to be firing tasks through to you. So figure out the best, easiest way with the least amount of barriers that you can actually get your tasks to your virtual assistant. It might be that you're often sitting in front of your computer. So then you would choose a tool that maybe is like a task management tool, a specific tool for task management where you can assign tasks, etc. So you have a think about how you work, what's going to suit you best and find that right tool to use.

If I can jump in there, the one that works incredibly well for me because I'm very appointment driven, is WhatsApp. So poor Leanne will often get six or seven different messages as I'm walking between appointments or heading to my car off the back of a meeting. And I don't expect responses immediately, but I now know I've downloaded all the things that need to be done. They're out of my head. I hand it over and it works.

If you're out and about all the time and not at your computer, absolutely. It's a great way to use that downtime, that dead time, maybe your travel time, your walking time, definitely use that as a time to delegate on that WhatsApp tool. So when I go to delegate, well when I have tasks thrown at me, my first question to myself is "Do I need to be the one who does this?" because I'm the personality style that if I can get anyone else to do anything that I need to do, then I'm going to do that. And that would be a good sign of a good business owner that you're delegating as much as possible to free yourself up for that thinking, strategic revenue generating time and activities. So when a task comes in that I need to action, I'm going to think "Right, can I delegate this to a team member, who is going to be the best team member?" And then if I'm out and about I'll absolutely use WhatsApp and I'll just fire those through to my office manager or to my virtual assistant, and I always have a think about what exactly the task is, 

So most of the time I'm delegating on Teamwork, which is our task management tool. I'm putting in there a really clear description of exactly what the action is. So do this thing. That's the task heading. Then I think about when I want this to be done by, how long I would like them to take to do it, if that's a requirement, if that's necessary. And then I'm going to put in the background information, the links, the documents, anything that they might need. And so I spend a decent amount of time on most of my tasks because the more time I invest to get it right, the least amount of iterations are going to come back and it's going to be done right the first time if I just invest that little bit more time up front. And so I'm really trying to be super specific and clear in my description of what needs to be done or the order or the background information, the context, the why we're doing this sort of stuff. I'm writing all of that detail and attaching any documents in there so that they know exactly what they need to do, where the information is, when they need to have it done by, and they have a way that they can actually see all of the tasks and they can tick them off. So that would be like the ultimate way to delegate to a virtual assistant because everything that they need is there. And that's for quite chunky, chunky tasks, project type tasks, and anything that's reoccurring. Then I will put that in as a reoccurring meeting, weekly, monthly, whatever it is, reoccurring tasks. So the more that you can invest up front doing a really great job of explaining and giving all the details like Lance says, or the login or the whatever they need, the benefits are going to be exponential down the track. And it might be that over time as a virtual assistant or your team member that you're delegating to, as they understand more about your business or the systems that you use or your style or how you like things or how you like them presented, then the less detail that needs to be in the task in the future. But yeah it's definitely an investment up front and having a really great system for how you're actually handing that task over.

I think what's really interesting here is that Jo you do actually... you don't just talk the talk, you walk the walk. So Lance is a client using a virtual assistant and you own a company of Virtual Assistants and you have your own virtual assistants, so you're still actually doing the same thing as Lance, you're delegating.

Because I think you run a team of virtual assistants, you probably put more context and content into your descriptions to your team, which is perfect. If I put my client hat on, I appreciate the fact that my virtual assistant does all that. They know us now, they've been working with us for a while, but I get to give fairly short instructions. But I know if it's a recurring task, it is going into a system and it is going to happen consistently and regularly. I know that they use good systems, so they'll pick those things up and they'll put those things into that tool so that things don't get missed in the future. And as a client, that's a huge plus to make sure that things aren't getting dropped or missed.

I think you can absolutely have administrators, team members, helpers support, virtual assistants who are reactive, and so that would be you taking on the responsibility of making sure that that system is set up, that you're using the system, that everything is in there, that you're giving all that information. However, rightly, as you mentioned, a company like Strictly Savvy, because we have all of those systems set up already and we can take a really proactive approach with our clients, it means that it's a lot less work for our clients to be able to engage with their virtual assistant and pass over tasks. Because like you say, Lance, we're doing all of that in the background. We want to do a great job. We want to make sure that we're doing it every single week or every month. We're not missing deadlines. So we take responsibility for those systems and make sure that everything is in there. So someone like you, Lance, you don't even need to see Teamwork or be in there or having a look at all, because you know that you can just use the best tool that you have, which is WhatsApp. Because it's the fastest, it has the least amount of barriers and it's much easier for you. So, yeah, it just depends on who you are getting the support from, what you've set up, what sort of expectations you have had, what those conversations are up front, as to how you need to delegate in terms of the tools, and the information and the detail that you need to go into.

Before we wrap up any last pro tips, anything that's popped into your mind for delegating?

A couple of things I'll raise, I've just remembered, you guys actually wrote our intranet, which is perfect,  after instructions, after conversations, after training, so I can actually see the instructions are being followed and I can see them as and when they get updated, which is perfect. But the one I'll touch on is that the time up front, and this is with any new person delegating any task, it does take longer the first couple of go rounds when you're delegating a task or training with someone else. And for most business owners, patience is not part of our strong suit or makeup. So actually having the... adjusting to be able to be willing to put that time in so that you free your time up and not have to do it ever again is definitely worth it. But it does take a little bit of time upfront. But the payback is massive. So important isn't it.

I agree, I know that many, many business owners and many leaders and managers who should be delegating say, "Oh, but it's just faster if I do it myself".

It's absolutely the first time and maybe the second time that that person does it for you and you delegate it and you've got to explain it and check it and review it, it's going to take longer. Absolutely. But if you think about the exponential savings of time that you'll get, years, if you have to do that for the next five years and someone else can do it for you, that's a massive savings and it's all about the opportunity cost. If you are going to do all those things, then what are you not able to have the time for? If you're saying yes to that task, what are you saying no to? And it could be revenue generating activities, sales, pushing your business forward, growth, all of that that you might be giving up because you can't get past that sort of initial time and frustration, and that initial investment.

Thank you so much for being on this session with us, and obviously for all your pro tips as well.

Thanks again for watching. That was Savvy Sessions #27.

We'll see you next time!

Want to start delegating to a virtual assistant? Book a call with Jaymie to chat.

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Download the Strictly Savvy Pricing 
Download the '101 Tasks To Delegate To A Virtual Assistant' guide 

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