Know the Value of What You Delegate

In continuation of yesterday’s post

“But don’t you recommend delegating the maintenance we don’t like doing?!” Well… it depends. Do it the wrong way and you won’t get the results you expect.

Here’s what happens…

When you lose touch with the connection between what you love and what is necessary to its care, you come to see maintenance not only as a set of tasks entirely separate from your other activities, but something you can completely separate yourself from – which is very enticing when it’s stuff you don’t like doing.

Let’s say you finally decide to eliminate such tasks from your schedule and seek out people who can do them for you. You find the perfect virtual assistant (or bookkeeper, organizer, computer tech, or housecleaner). “Fantastic!” you say, “Now I won’t have deal with this crap ever again! Yay!”

Except you will. No VA (or bookkeeper, organizer, computer tech, or housecleaner), no matter how experienced or talented, is a mind-reader. From time to time, those people supporting you will need your input, they will have some questions that need answering. If you persist in avoiding any participation in the maintenance of your business (or life) – one of three things will happen. Without your input, those supporting you will be forced to cease their work (even drop you as a client) and you’ll have to deal with whatever negative consequences are the result. Or, without your input, those supporting you might choose to act on your behalf, making the best-educated guess about what you most likely would want to do, which may not be at all the direction you would have chosen to take things. It’s even possible a nefarious service provider might take advantage of your disinterest by taking you to the proverbial cleaners.

But let’s say you don’t completely avoid input – your participation is just reluctant and minimal (e.g., you reply to their emails, but a week later and with one sentence). If that’s the case, you are just burning your money. Grudging participation slows down the process and takes those supporting you that much longer to get their work done – which they will bill you for one way or another. And it will be a long time before you build enough momentum to see any profit from your investment.

But something more insidious also happens when you become disconnected from what is essential to caring for what you love, when you come to see maintenance as a necessary evil, when you think of it as the crap you hate about being self-employed. It changes how you perceive and interact with the professionals who are doing the work you have delegated. If you think such tasks are crap, what do you think of the person who has chosen handle said crap for a living, who has a passion for it even? Would you not experience the same disconnect with that person as you do with work delegated to them? If so, how successful is the partnership likely to be?

On the other hand, if you understand what is essential to caring for what you love and its integral part in succeeding in the business and life you want for yourself – then the value of all that maintenance (and the people who can do it really well) is obvious. It’s something you are naturally going to want to pay attention to, be involved with and invest in, even when you delegate. The greater your sense of connection and value, the more the relationships with those you work with will be collaborative, dynamic, synergistic, full of momentum – and profitable.


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Third Hand Works

from overwhelmed to ready for anything | organization and time management for people in their "right" minds | administrative guidance for independent creative professionals [more info]



© 2008 Cairene MacDonald, Third Hand Works. All Rights Reserved.

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