How to Do More of What You Love and Less of What You Don’t

Do you have a long-term delegation strategy? This is the secret to moving more into “the zone” and getting out of those activities you don’t enjoy or don’t do well.

How to Do More of What You Love and Less of What You Don’t

Photo Courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/Yuri_Arcurs

Recently, I recorded two podcasts on the subject of delegation. The first dealt with the principles of delegation. The second suggested how you might delegate even if you don’t have a staff.

In these podcasts I suggested the primary reason to delegate is that non-delegation doesn’t scale. It is not sustainable. This is why so many people feel overworked, overwhelmed, and burned out.

But there is an even more important reason to delegate:

To enable you to focus on what you do best in order to maximize your impact.

I touched on this at the end of the first podcast, but I want to elaborate here. I think this is something we all need to think through as leaders if we are going to be effective in our roles.

Here’s the way I think about it. I do some things well and some things not so well. The same is true for you. If you try to be the jack of all trades, you will likely be master of none.

When I am operating in my strengths zone, I am happy and productive. The quality of my work goes up, and I increase my impact. Equally important, I leave space for my team members to make their greatest contributions.

Conversely, when I don’t do this, I am stressed and unproductive. I run out of margin. As a result, the quality of my work suffers. And, I deprive others of making their best contributions. They don’t get the opportunity to express their strengths.

If we are going to stay focused and become even more effective, we have to have a delegation strategy. Mine consists of three components.

  1. Identify your strengths. My greatest strengths are in writing, speaking, and being the spokesperson for my brand. It is, frankly, a very narrow range of activities. What are your strengths? If you had to limit these to two or three, what would they be?
  2. Offload everything else. This can’t usually happen immediately. It’s taken me almost two years, and I am still not done.When I started my entrepreneurial adventure I was devoting more than half my available work hours to administrative activities. This included things like:
    • Reading and responding to e-mail
    • Managing my calendar
    • Booking appointments
    • Making travel arrangements
    • Paying the bills
    • Collecting money
    • Negotiating contracts
    • Writing sales copy
    • Researching vendors
    • Designing marketing materials

    And the list goes on. The point is I was doing a lot of stuff others could have done and done them better than I could.

    Once I realized this, I began slowly hiring part-time assistants to help me. I started by giving up the stuff either I wasn’t good at or didn’t enjoy doing.

    Each time I confronted a task, I asked, Is this something someone else can do or is it something only I can do?

    As a result of this process, I have hired the following people in roughly this order:

    • A web developer to handle all the technical details of my blog, set up new modules I wanted to add (e.g., e-commerce), and to write custom code for components we couldn’t find elsewhere.
    • A virtual executive assistant to read and filter e-mail, manage my calendar and schedule appointments, make my travel arrangements, and handle other projects as assigned.
    • A bookkeeper to pay bills, invoice clients, process payments, balance accounts, and provide various financial reports. This person also handles all my personal finances.
    • A booking agent to pitch me to event planners, answer questions related to my speaking, negotiate speaking fees and travel reimbursements, and collect the money.
    • Managers (in my case, I have two) to manage my career, advise me on strategy, and oversee everyone and everything else.
    • A graphic designer to create the graphics we use for new products and marketing materials.

    This year, I have added some additional team members to support Platform University, including an overall project director, a video producer, and a customer support rep.

    Interestingly, not one of these people is a paid employee. They are all independent contractors with other clients. Some work a few hours a week; some up to 20. But nobody is full-time, other than me.

    If you were going to add people, who would you add first? second? and so on? Personally, I don’t think the resources show up until you get clear on what you need. (You might want to re-read that sentence again.)

  3. Get even more focused. Once I had the basic positions in place, I started asking myself, Are there aspects of my strengths that could be delegated to others? As I said, writing, speaking, and being the spokesperson for my brand are my strengths. But are there aspects of these activities others could do, so I can focus on those aspects only I can do.I started by deconstructing my creative process. I discovered each project, whether it’s a blog post, a podcast, a book, a speech, a video segment, or a screencast, has four phases:
    • Phase 1: Researching the content
    • Phase 2: Creating the content
    • Phase 3: Packaging the content
    • Phase 4: Promoting the content

    For me, the most obvious candidate for delegation was Phase #3. For a podcast, for example, packaging involves editing and “sweeting” the audio, generating the final audio file, adding the MP3 tags, uploading the file to my media server, creating the show notes (i.e., a blog post), and scheduling the post.

    I can do all this, of course—in fact, I did it all for the first year—but so can many other people. The problem is I could use this time for researching and creating new content. Packaging is not the best and highest use of my strengths.

    As a result, in January I hired a podcast producer. Now I simply upload the recorded but unedited files to Dropbox, and he takes it from there. This has saved me roughly a half a day a week. It’s one of the best decisions I have made.

    Similarly, I just adopted the same basic model for my blog posts. I focus on research and creation of the content. Once I have finished writing my post in ByWord, I save it and upload it to Dropbox. My editor takes it from there.

    She copy-edits and proof-reads the post, inserts related links, finds a relevant photo, formats the HTML, adds the metadata, optimizes the post for SEO, and schedules it for publication.

    I am still handling the promotion of my content (i.e., Phase 4 above) via my social media channels, but I plan to delegate this sometime this year as well. Eventually, I also want to delegate some portion of the research (i.e., Phase 1).

    Again, the point is to allow me to achieve a narrower field of focus, so I can be more productive and happy doing what I do best and adding the most value possible.

    What about you? How could you get even more focused? You might want to deconstruct your strengths into their logical phases or components. Are their aspects of your strengths you could eventually delegate?

The one real limitation you and I face in leadership is our time. It is truly a finite resource. We can’t buy or borrow more of it—unless we delegate. To do this effectively, we need a long-term delegation strategy. This will enable us to maximize our strengths and increase our impact.

Question: What is your long-term delegation strategy? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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  • http://www.chrisjeub.com/ Chris Jeub

    This is an awesome meditation, Michael, something that has been on my mind too.

    Remember Dan Hayes from the Platform Conference? He and his wife run Simple Life Together http://simplelifetogether.com, and their principle is something like, “simplify so that you can focus on what it most important.” 

    That’s a liberating thought, and I’m taking the lead of you both. One chunk at a time. =)

  • Tina Seals

    I appreciate this blog. I would love to delegate those things I dread such as copy editing and proof reading but I need the resources to delegate to professionals.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Tina. Here’s how I think about it, the resources follow the intention. In other words, if I have the intention to hire that work done, the resources will show up when I need them. That is how it has always worked for me.

  • http://www.revolutionarylife.org/ Dustan Stanley

    I think you should add manager to your list of strengths! :-) Truth is, just figuring out what needs to be delegated is a strength. Thanks for the post. Now I have a lot to think about.

    • http://www.chrisjeub.com/ Chris Jeub

      I right there with you, Dustan. Thinking quite a bit on delegation lately…and that’s good!

    • http://JackieUlmer.com/ Jackie Ulmer

      I agree! And that has been my challenge – figuring out WHAT to delegate – that is a strength!

      • http://www.revolutionarylife.org/ Dustan Stanley

        I’m wondering if it is a simple question: What are the things someone other than me CAN do? Perhaps if someone else is capable, they should do it, so I am more free to do the things only I can do. Just a thought…

        • http://www.thedailyretort.com/ TorConstantino

          That’s a great filter Dustan – asking what are the things that others can do. I think a logical addendum to that would be to ask yourself, “What are the things I enjoy doing?” – and then continue only doing those tasks that play to your strengths.

  • http://stephanviftrup.dk/ Stephan Viftrup

    Delegation seems so hard, because it feels like extra work to find volunteers, if you don’t just have the cash to spend. Even so, you need to educate the helping hand so it actually feels like help.

    I think that’s why many, including myself, often agree on delegation in principle, but never follow through.

    However when thinking about it, in terms of The Leadership Pibeline, When you move away from producing yourself to leading others that produce, you are actually stepping up in leadership. Becoming more of a leader. Now you need to learn to succeed through others and not by working harder yourself. That’s actually quite an identity shift and can lead to sense of losing your worth. But if we are leaders, this is actually the direction we want to go. 

    Thanks for a great post.Stephan

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      I’ve been thinking about this as well. I’ve come to the conclusion that part of the problem is I typically wait too long to delegate, when I’m so overwhelmed I think I might break in two. Delegation isn’t something to do IN a crisis, but BEFORE a crisis.

      • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

        Yes, absolutely. Having said that, I do like to feel a little pain before I delegate. Also, I like to figure out the workflow if I can, so I can offer solid direction when I delegate.

  • http://twitter.com/markwguay Mark Guay

    Thanks Michael for allowing us to see the inner working of your platform. As I read this, I wonder if a start-up blogger  would need to do everything at first – much like you did your first year – to understand how to then delegate. Likewise, if one does take on all the role the first year will he get through “The Dip” or give up? Should he then have delegated tasks to begin with? 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Yep, start slow. It’s a process. I would never recommend doing this all at once, even if you could afford it.

  • http://www.monsterpiggybank.com/ Glen @ Monster Piggy Bank

    Getting a Virtual assistant is a great idea. I am currently looking into getting one to manage replying to all my website emails.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I highly recommend eaHELP.com. My executive assistant works for them and is awesome.

  • http://www.toddstocker.com/ Todd Stocker

    Michael,  another great post.  For me, once I set a plan to simplify, I have to constantly rehearse the 2% that only I can do.  Even this past 6 months, I realized that I’ve taken on more responsibilities that I shouldn’t and don’t need to do.  Thanks for the reminder to FOCUS!  Todd

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

       Yes, me too, Todd. I have to go over that list of strengths again and again and compare it to how I’m actually spending my time. I keep forgetting. :)

  • http://www.andrewsobel.com/ Andrew Sobel

    Thanks very much for a great post Michael. I’m trying to do exactly what you describe (I’m an author with a firm and multiple initiatives going on) but I’ve hit a couple of roadblocks–maybe others have these issues as well. My questions are: 
    First, where do you find all of these free-lance specialists and screen them? I’ve gotten nearly overwhelmed looking at some of the freelance sites, with hundreds of potential subcontractors. The initial investment to find the person throws me off a bit. What’s your secret? Second, have you found that a single person can do a good job at two or three of these tasks, (e.g., graphic designer versus web developer versus editor etc) or do you recommend getting specialists for each area? PS I still find the Eisenhower/Covey matrix helpful, which contrasts importance with urgency. Goal is to spend 70% of your time on tasks in the “Not Urgent/Important” quadrant. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Andrew, here’s what I do:

      1. I identify the position I need.
      2. I create a position description to get even more clarity.
      3. I pray that God will send me the right people.
      4. I put the word out to my tribe.
      5. I have my assistant or one of my managers do the initial screening. 6. I interview the top candidates.
      7. I make a decision.

      I usually start small—five to ten hours a week. I don’t let my investment get too far ahead of the return on my investment. I want to make sure that it really does free me up to generate even more income.
      In terms of hiring one specialist verses several, it depends completely on the talent set of the people. I don’t think there are any hard and fast rules. This is art not science.
      Hope that helps!

      • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

        Solid process. Thanks for detailing it for us!

  • http://www.thadthoughts.com/ Thad Puckett

    It seems to me that you are following what Marcus Buckingham would call “buddying up” to let others do those things that aren’t strengths to focus on the things that are your strengths.  Excellent article, I am sharing it with several friends. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I love Marcus Buckingham’s work. He was a huge help to me.

  • http://www.buckleadership.wordpress.com/ Justin Buck

    Great tips, Mike! This reminds me of Halftime and the younger version soon-to-come, Allthere. Thanks for the refresher!

  • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

    So good. Thanks for leading the way with this, Mike.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Jeff. I can’t wait to see how you build on this.

      • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

        I definitely need to. It’s time to offload some stuff. My first step is to get some office space, then record everything that I’m doing. After that, I’ll begin delegating more to my assistant and look at building a team (at some point, I’d love to hear your thoughts on building a team versus doing joint ventures). I’m following your lead on this.

  • http://rayedwards.com/about/ Ray Edwards

    Michael, this is a timely post. It helps me clarify some things I have been thinking through ever since the Platform Conference.

    I always appreciate your transparency. Thanks!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Ray. I’m glad it was timely.

  • http://fourhourleader.wordpress.com/ Giuseppe Pagnoni

    Another awesome post. Although it may seem focused on “entrepreneurs” I see a huge potential in transposing the same ideas in the corporate world.
    Thank you for the constant inspiration.

    Giuseppe

    @4hourleader:twitter fourhourleader.wordpress.com

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Yes, I definitely think this works in the corporate world. I followed the same general principles when I was there.

  • http://coaching-journey.com/ HT Lee

    I’ve found it helpful to list down into 4 quadrants: 1) What energizes you? 2) What de-energizes you? 3) Who energizes you? 4) Who de-energizes you?

    I’d be mindful about the activities and people I deal with, to ensure I’ve a healthy balance of energy. That would make me love more what I do.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Great matrix. Thanks.

    • prophetsandpopstars

      Another helpful rubric of energy stewardship!

  • deandeguara

    Due to budget cuts we could not rehire an administrative assistant that supports our executive team, so we had to distribute responsibilities among ourselves and existing staff. It has worked out okay, but in order to get in us in our strength zone we are going to try and better utilize volunteers. I listened to your two podcasts on delegation during a project that has me convinced I need to do a better job of this.

    • http://www.thedailyretort.com/ TorConstantino

      Volunteers are a great option. Have you possibly considered creating an internship program where you offer curriculum credit in exchange for “real world” experience to students at a local community college? Our company is a strong believer in that approach – it also serves as a vetting process and feeder channel for future employees. Just a thought…

  • http://www.mirrorministries.org Daphne Delay

    I have to agree wholeheartedly with you on this one, although it’s been hard to implement. Several years ago, I told my husband, “You know I won’t always be your administrator…” He said, “I know, but let’s not talk about that right now.”

    As my writing and speaking increased, we’ve hired more church staff to help. Just last week, I took a morning to work at home to finish a manuscript and when I went in to the office that afternoon, one of my staff said she noticed that when I’m there, everyone buzzes around my office. But when I’m gone, they figure it out on their own and get it done.

    I think my mistake is swimming in the water with them too long. There’s a time to teach them to swim (I’m not quite the personality to just throw them in the lake haha) but I need to recognize when they will produce better content when they’re released, which in turn lets me do the same.

    Wonderful article! I needed this kick today. Thank you!

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      Great perspective, Daphne. When I step back and let someone do something I’d normally, I often feel like I’m “failing” them somehow. I’m learning that isn’t the case at all. In fact, I might be gearing them up for a success that wouldn’t be realized any other way.

  • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

    I’ve been following your lead this year, Mike, and have delegated work out to others. Some have worked well, others have been real disasters. My wife and I moved to the North Coast area of San Diego about three years ago. Since we were new in town, we didn’t have a lot of references for services in the area, so we asked friends, church members and looked online to Yelp and other reference sources.

    What I have found, has been a wide variety of services and experiences. Here are some of the things I’ve outsourced that I would usually do myself.

    Painting and home repair
    Car repair
    Lawn Maintenance
    Graphic design
    Book editing

    The hard thing about delegating is the quality of work you receive for your payment. I hired a contractor to do paint and carpet in a house for us. The results were OK, but not to the level of detail that I would have done. It’s hard to pay a lot of money for so-so work.

    In this case I don’t know if I would use them again or not. Unfortunately I didn’t have many alternative references.

    I took my car in to a recommended car repair shop for a simple oil leak and had a very bad experience. By the time I got my car back, my bill was in the thousands, way over estimate, and the work was done poorly. Parts were missing when I got it back, and now it is making a very bad noise. The problem is, I don’t want them working on my car again. Unfortunately, this shop was recommended by a good friend, which makes things even more difficult. Since I was in car repair for over 20 years, this is really frustrating.

    Book editing is an interesting area. I’ve worked with a few different editors over the last few years, and all of them have done a good job with the basic edits. It’s trying to find the right person to work with your particular style and genre that makes it tough.  The same goes with graphic design. As a creative person, I need to find other creatives that share my passion and style. This makes delegating much harder.

    Overall, I need to become a better delegator and learn to setup ground rules and expectations for people that I work with. When you find someone that exceeds your expectations, delegation is a wonderful experience. When they don’t work out, it can be a real problem. 

    BTW… I have a wonderful lawn guy I would highly recommend to anyone.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, John. I appreciate you taking the time to detail this.

      One of the most often overlooked but most helpful steps in the hiring process is to check references. The proof is in the pudding. I like to talk with people who have used that person before. That is helped me more than anything to avoid the disasters and get quality work.
      Also, I often have the people I hire do some sample work, so I can see exactly how they perform. This isn’t always possible, of course, but it can also be very enlightening.

      • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

        One of the frustrating things is when you have a couple of bad experiences, it makes you want to pull back in and do things yourself again. If people only realized that there work is their bond, I would hope things would be different. 

        I did have an unexpected experience last week. Someone ran into my wife’s car and put a golf ball size dent in the door, right on a seam. I took it to a local body shop for an estimate. The guy said it would be a minimum of $800 to $1,000 because it would need to be filled and painted and that the paint will probably not match exactly. But then he went to his drawer and pulled out a card. He said, “Call Matt, and see if he can fix it.”

        Matt has a mobile dent repair business. He came out to my house and with the skill of a surgeon spent three hours repairing the dent with amazing little tools. For $300, he had it looking new. You could not tell there was ever a nasty dent there. I was absolutely blown away how much patience he had, and what a great job he did. Guys like this give me faith in humanity! In NC San Diego it’s Dents Done Rite. Highly Recommended!

        • Jim Martin

          John, what a great story about your car. I was not only impressed with “Matt” but also the guy who referred him. There is something about his willingness to do this that is very encouraging.

  • http://www.laurenphelpscoaching.com/ Lauren Phelps

    Love this line: When I am operating in my strengths zone, I am happy and productive. 
    – My strategy is to find this zone and find a way to stay in it.  Sometimes I’m not sure I’ve identified it yet.  Thank you for the detailed post about getting more done and being happier! 

    • http://www.thedailyretort.com/ TorConstantino

      I agree Lauren – personally, the way I try to stay in the strength zone is by asking myself a brief series of questions:  “Do I enjoy doing this activity, is it productive?” If either of those is “no” than I’ll try to find someone else to do it. Prioritization is also a critical step in the process.

  • NNN2013

     Just a short question from a non-native English speaker: where can I find scripts for these podcasts ?
    Read is usually easier.

    It would be very useful.

    Thank you,

    Nicolas

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      They are on the page with the podcasts. Scroll down to Transcripts. You’ll find a PDF for each podcast with a word-for-word transcript.

      • NNN2013

         Awesome!
        Thank you Michael!

  • 21stcenturyconfusion

    Hi Michael,

    Good advice. To delegate or not to delegate. Non-delegation appears foolish after monetization is accomplished at a certain point. Will you be fleshing this out through Platform U? The 4 points in the blog post begs to become 4 segments, lol.

    Thanks,

    Zach

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Ha! Perhaps.

  • http://JackieUlmer.com/ Jackie Ulmer

    What helps me most about the information here is realizing that it can be done in small chunks, not all at once. Develop a list of strengths, and things I enjoy and want to continue, and then the list of things I want to offload.

    From there, decide an order and take it small step at a time!

    Thanks!

    • http://www.thedailyretort.com/ TorConstantino

      That’s a great point Jackie! That’s the basic idea behind project management – distilling large projects down to actionable tasks/items. It’s the age old answer to the question, “How do you eat an elephant?” – one bite at a time :-) 

  • Mario Castillo

     Mr. Hyatt:
     My strengths are math design, autodidact, I am learning wordpress
    and I need how sell my jobs or marketing.

     Mario Castillo
         

    • http://www.thedailyretort.com/ TorConstantino

      Mario, I’m not really sure what “math design” entails – but as an autodidact or self learner you might offer your services as a researcher. Perhaps you could go on Fiverr.com and offer 10 minutes of quality research in exchange for $5 or answer questions on answers.com. Those are two easy ways to share and monetize one of your strengths.  

  • http://twitter.com/carlopeterson Carl Peterson

    So, for those of us who aren’t in a position to delegate (for example, we’re the last link in our chain of command in a company), how do we work with our supervisors to realign our job responsibilities to better reflect our skill set? Or is the answer to find a position that better aligns with our skill set?

  • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

    Is this idea of delegation and working in your strengths biblical? You betcha!

    In reading your post, Mike, I thought of Jethro’s advice to his son-in-law Moses concerning delegation (Exodus 18:13-26) and Peter’s focus on his strength and request to get others to handle a distribution problem (Acts 6:1-7).

    Well done.

    • http://www.thedailyretort.com/ TorConstantino

      Great point TN – Michael actually referenced the exchange between Jethro and Moses in one of his previous posts regarding delegation.

  • http://twitter.com/ConnieAlmony Connie Almony

    This is so true! There are things I love to do and because of that love I do them efficiently and with more of an eye for details. It energizes me to do them more. I’ve had others shake their heads and wonder how I fit writing into my day. I wonder how I could not. However, the thought of other jobs weary me. I’m currently in a position of leadership for writers in my area. I have a wonderful group of “title-less” people who have the skills I lack. I’d say to them, “We really need to …” feeling heavy with the burden and another member of the group would shrug a shoulder and say, “I’ll do it.” The next day my email would show the fruit of her having fulfilled that duty. Her skill. I figure it probably energizes her the way other things do for me. The important thing is to assemble a team with all the complementary qualities and then utilize them.

    • http://www.thedailyretort.com/ TorConstantino

      Great comment Connie – I think that’s one of the principle attributes of a leader is the ability to know oneself and then surround yourself with “gap fillers.”

      • http://twitter.com/ConnieAlmony Connie Almony

        I like that–“Gap Fillers.” I’ll tell my “team” that’s what they are :o).

  • http://blog.cyberquill.com/ Cyberquill

    My long-term delegation strategy is to have someone find me a job and go to work in my stead. In return, this person will get to keep a percentage of my salary. 

    • http://www.thedailyretort.com/ TorConstantino

      Interesting strategy. I’m considering the possibility of delegating my personal weight loss efforts to someone who’s immune to the siren call of Girl Scout cookies….

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      That reminds me of the movies and TV shows where a person would make a clone so they could do everything they enjoyed while the clone did everything else.

  • http://twitter.com/mvwalker Matt Walker

    Great post, Michael! This is very helpful for me as I’m beginning to feel that pressure point as my ministry is growing via online and in-person. This helps me think through how I might transition from it being just me to building a team. 

    One question for you, though. I’m learning as I go on my podcast, Question Christianity, and I noticed that you have a list on your podcast page, which I assume is the URL that your RSS feed pulls from. How did you do that spreadsheet-looking setup for each show? Is it an app or is it customized CSS? 

    Thanks for all you do, brother.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Yes, it’s customized PHP code. It is doing a query on the WordPress database and pulling every title that has the word “[Podcast]” in it. It then builds a HTML table. I had my developer create it. Thanks!

  • Bonnie Clark

    Hi
    You’ve stated that your greatest strengths are in writing, speaking, and being the spokesperson for your brand. I am interested in the process you went through to identify your strengths.  Also, how do your current list of strengths relate to those in previous jobs you’ve held (like Chairman of Thomas Nelson).  I am in the middle of reading Marcus Buckingham’s “Now, Discover Your Strengths” and I find it interesting that you can switch occupations but continue to use your talents. 

    As always, I enjoy your content, so I’m happy to hear that you have more time to create it!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      The strengths I identified are not technically strengths in the way Buckingham uses the term. (I have a list of my StrengthsFinder results here, if you are interested.) The rest is trial and error over 30 years.
      The strengths I listed in the post (i,.e., writing, speaking, etc.) can be expressed in a variety of contexts. My current context is very different than my previous one at Thomas Nelson, but they worked well in both. I am just able to use them more now.

    • http://www.thedailyretort.com/ TorConstantino

      Hi Bonnie, I’ve similarly transitioned from various roles and industries during my career. I’ve found that a few of the keys to a “transferable skill set” are:

      1. Having relevant abilities – polished written and verbal skills are relevant and useful to virtually any career;

      2. Knowing the problems you can solve – part of that is knowing how to package your problem solving skills to potential customers or prospects; 

      3. Intentional application – for anyone seeking to make a skill set transfer, it’s incumbent upon them to intentionally demonstrate the value of those skills to prospects.

      Those are a few thoughts for consideration….

  • http://forthisisthetime.blogspot.com/ Esther Aspling

    I need to work on my need to control everything in order to trust others to handle things. But I can totally recognize there are things best left to others!
    forthisisthetime.blogspot.com 

    • http://www.thedailyretort.com/ TorConstantino

      I can relate – I’m a control freak in recovery myself ;-)

  • Carol Brown

    I can clearly see that I needed to read this. I now know that I don’t have a delegation strategy–no wonder I am feeling pushed! Thanks Michael.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      It’s an eye-opener Carol! What’s going to be your first step?

  • http://www.thedailyretort.com/ TorConstantino

    Great perspective – as always! For an employee meeting, our company recently brought in Marcus Buckingham the author of “Find Your Strengths.” 

    One of the key quotes from his discussion was that we must focus on our strengths if we ever want to “…blast through the ceiling because the alternative of focusing on your weaknesses, only serves to keep us from falling through the floor.” 

    That’s what this post reminded me of….

    • Jim Martin

      Tor, thanks for this great quote and reminder.

  • Steve Pate

    I’m a property manager at a Christian retreat center, aka non-profit! Last September my assistant needed to leave for his wife’s sake and I’ve been short on hands with lots of work to be done. I was told don’t plan on hiring anybody soon. So a new challenge has come before me I needed to adjust to. The beauty of a non-profit, you can recruit volunteers. 

    So, I’m working on a master list of job priorities, so when I’m able to receive any help I don’t need to dream up a job on the spot but be able to delegate a purpose. Plus doing this list helps me in my questioning the volunteer in their strengths on what the right delegation task I can give them. In return I hope they feel important, wanted, and become walking billboards for our mission. 

    Your last two pod came at a perfect time for me. thanks for your passion. 

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Steve, that’s an awesome way to take initiative and create a resource that will help you and others in the future. 

  • http://juliesunne.com/ Julie Sunne

    I’m starting to like this delegation thing, Michael. I ran with your encouragement to delegate to my teenager. I’m slowly working him into taking over some of my administration tasks. And while he is too busy to put in hours every day, the time I have been able to secure him has been quite beneficial to him and me. I see a renewed sense of confidence in him, and I just got out of the preliminary work of compiling my archived post tweet list! Next he will work on entering my mega number of passwords into KeePass. 
    Excited to see what else I can pass on! Thanks. 

    • Jim Martin

      Julie, congratulations on what you are doing with your teenager. You story is a great reminder to all of us who are parents that such delegation is not only helpful to a parent but can be very significant toward developing our children.

  • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

    This is something I’ll have to think about Michael. I feel I’m still small in the big picture of things and do almost everything myself. I’ll have to consider what can be offloaded and what cannot. 

  • http://www.designingachampion.com/ DrMatt

    Great post! This is something that I finally came to the conclusion that I needed to start doing more of this year. It’s funny, I always thought that I would have no problems handing the reins to someone else to help with a part of my business, but it’s easy to get sucked into the “I have to do everything” mentality. Especially so when you bootstrap a business and get used to doing so much in the beginning. My number 1 priority this year as far as delegation goes is to hire a bookkeeper. Next, I will probably end up getting a web developer too. I have been trying to learn alot of that myself on the go, but I realize that in order to take it to the next level, I will need some help. 

    • Jim Martin

      Matt, please keep us updated on how your shift to more delegation is going. I suspect your experiences will help others of us who have experienced the “I have to do everything” mentality. Thanks.

      • http://www.designingachampion.com/ DrMatt

        Will do Jim!

  • http://kimanziconstable.com/ kimanzi constable

    Right now I’m at the point now where I’m hiring my first virtual assistant. Like you I’ve tried to manage writing and speaking (internationally) but stuff is falling through the cracks. My eventually goal is to have a team where I can just focus on creating and helping! These posts and podcast were invaluable Michael! 

  • Ryan Baker

    This post is a great way to bolster the podcasts you just put out. :) You’ve been incredibly helpful in helping me learn everything I need to learn to start building a platform, and help them in the process. Thanks for all you do, and I look forward to meeting you at Dan Miller’s Innov48 conference later this month!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Great. I look forward to meeting you then, Ryan.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kevin.stock.MSC Kevin Stock

    Hi Mr. Hyatt – I was wondering (if not too personal) about how much your overhead “employees” cost/week?

    P.S.
    New reader of the blog – but after reading about every prior post, I think I’m caught up to speed (and what an absolutely amazing blog it is!)

  • http://twitter.com/PauljHoyt Paul Hoyt

    Michael,

    I really enjoyed the post and just read excerpts to my wife,
    Brandi. I too started a venture that began really as nothing more than an idea.
    My first desk was my kitchen table. I’m grateful to say that it’s now quite a
    nice small business (www.connoisseuroftime.com).

    I just couldn’t get over how similar our stories were. With
    the exception that within six months my wife began helping part-time and later
    full-time (and now back to helping some part-time since we’ve started a family)
    we built it initially using a stable of contractors (and still rely heavily on
    them). I did everything at first. Within a few months I began deconstructing
    and delegating much to Brandi, a former executive assistant, and then began to
    hire contractors so that within the first couple of years we had four part-time
    contractors.

    For me, they filled the roles of graphic design, web operations, a watchmaker, and a jeweler. Later I added a bookkeeper.

    For about the first four years I worked out of our house. I
    held out as long as I could before getting office space. It finally became
    abundantly clear that it was needed for a couple of reasons:

    1. The business simply couldn’t grow any larger and
    still be run from our home. It just wasn’t possible. Of course not everyone’s
    business will be like mine, but it required it.

    2. My wife and I were ready to have our home just
    be our home again.

    I really got a huge third benefit from office space: work/life boundaries. I didn’t realize at the time just how badly it needed it. Getting something off the ground and growing was exciting, but it had taken a toll on me. While I’m sure others could build a business and stay balanced, I struggled. For several reasons I think…mainly because starting the business had required my savings and was my means of putting bread on the table. I felt an “all-in” pressure to succeed. Having office space created needed boundaries.

    Fast forward to now, and my stable of contractors is only slightly larger in size, though much improved in talent. I now also have one full-time person who wears a number of hats. In many respects she serves as my office manager, though that title doesn’t begin to do her justice. I’ve added a part-time employee but still rely heavily on contractors.

    Thanks so much for the post.

    Paul Hoyt

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for sharing your post, Paul. Yes, our stories are very similar. Thanks again!

  • http://www.danerickson.net/ Dan Erickson

    Great post, Michael. As a new blogger with limited funds I wind up doing it all. I have had help with a few things and I’m slowly making progress in finding additional members for my team. My three biggest strengths are writing, making music, and social networking. I recently discovered that one of the IT guys at my day job is a WP expert and will probably pay to have him do a few technical updates on my blog when my second book, At the Crossing of Justice and Mercy,” is released. Also, I’m adding podcasting to my blog. My day job is teaching public speaking, so I’m going to start a series on public speaking including podcasting, We’ll see how it goes.

    • Jim Martin

      Dan, I wish you the best with your podcasting project. Please keep us informed regarding your progress. Always appreciate your comments here.

  • Mylissa Horrocks

    Michael – we are the kings and queens delegation for our nonprofit work in Memphis. Delegation to key volunteers is the ONLY way we are able to accomplish the volume of weekly care and service we provide. My only caution is this – for those of us in relationship-based ministry or the like, there’s a fine line between giving away too much and not enough. Even in social media – our wise followers know when they are hearing from us, and they know when they are hearing from another. It’s a tricky balance between staying true to the brand/service/clients what have you, and time maximization. Just my thoughts.

    • http://www.laurenphelpscoaching.com/ Lauren Phelps

      Small world. I was a delegatee for you. I posted LUVGLO flyers downtown :)

    • Jim Martin

      Mylissa, it sounds like you know very well the importance of delegation for your nonprofit work. Thanks for the reminder regarding the “fine line.”

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  • Don Coltrane

    ROI is the key in any venture. My problem is that in 60 years I never valued my time highly enough. There is still time to learn, but I have time less each day.

  • http://www.BradAndres.com/ Brad Andres

    Michael,
    Everything is great in the article. My question stems from being so far removed from your level of creation and available time.
    At this point in my writing career, I have not grown my Platform to a large enough size to produce income through product generation. I work a full-time job, give two to three nights a week to my local church ministries.
    When do you know you’ve reached the point where it makes sense to subcontract?
    When looking at my reality, I don’t feel I should use resources to subcontract work when I can save them for more practical things, such as a professional WordPress theme, Platform University, and the like. Any input would be greatly appreciated (might also make for a good podcast episode). Thanks Michael.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I think it comes down to this: can you make more money in the time you free up than you spend in hiring someone to do that task.

  • http://www.changevolunteers.org/ Change Volunteer

    I just wish one day I am as successful and have real like-minded people to be able to delegate. Because when you delegate, it’s like letting them be a part of your brain!

  • http://ErikaDawson.com/ Erika Dawson

    This is SO helpful … and I dream of this help. My biggest question, though, is how did you find the right help? How did you know where to look, who to choose, etc. The person has to be more than ‘just competent’ if I’m trusting them with my hard work; I want them to be GOOD! How do you find just the right person?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      This is a great question. I first identify what I need. I then put out a call to my tribe, then go through the screening and interviewing process. The main thing is to check references.

      • http://ErikaDawson.com/ Erika Dawson

        Your tribe is slightly bigger than mine. ;)
        Thanks for the reply. This is definitely something I need to look into and really appreciate the specific examples you gave of how you’re delegating. I needed that fresh perspective.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tracey.moore.5036 Tracey Moore

    I think that you were right in saying that when you get clear on what you need, the resources will come. I need to get clear about what I need first. I do have a webdesigner who handles my web updates, but that’s about it. I am thankful for the post because now I know I need to look for ways to delegate so I won’t get burned out.
    Tracey L. Moore
    Author of Oasis for My Soul

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  • Michael Dean

    Michael, how do you find managers who will work on a contract basis?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      It’s not easy. I found mine because I live in Nashville, where we have a lot of managers. I would probably start with Google.

      • Michael Dean

        Thanks Michael, what would you suggest that I look up on google – “contract manager in (our city)”? Or what would you advise I ask my network to look for to send me referrals? I know a lot of people and have deep experience in our field, but am not familiar with the concept of managers working on a contract basis even though that is exactly what our growing business needs. Thank you in advance for your wisdom and insights (and a blog that I recommend to everyone I talk to!)

        • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

          I am not sure. It depends on what you needs. In Nashville, this is the primary way “Artist Managers” work. It sounds like you might need more of a traditional business manager. If this is the case, I would try find what you are looking for and then discussion compensation models as a separation discussion.