Momentum Podcast: 634
Delegation Should be Imperfect
by Alex Charfen
If you are running a growing business, it is natural to get overwhelmed. It is natural to have too much to do, and it is natural to need help like crazy. One of the biggest issues I see in the entrepreneurial world is an entrepreneur who needs help but waits far too long to get it because they think it needs to be perfect.
The reality is delegation is never perfect, there are always issues, and most entrepreneurs wait too long to start. When you understand the delegation will be imperfect, and you know how to handle it, you can offload what you are doing much faster and get the help you need.
Full Audio Transcript
This is The Momentum Podcast.
Delegation should be imperfect. If you're running a growing business, it's natural to get overwhelmed. It's natural to have too much to do, and it's natural to need help like crazy. One of the biggest issues in the entrepreneurial world is an entrepreneur who needs help, but waits far too long to get it because they think that it needs to be perfect. In this episode, Alex shares a story of two of our members who are going through this issue right now as well as the advice that he shared with them for how to delegate and perfectly. I hope you enjoy.
I'm Alex Charfen and this is The Momentum Podcast made for empire builders, game changers, trailblazers, shot takers, record breakers, world makers, and creators of all kinds, those among us who can't turn it off and don't know why anyone would want to. We challenge complacency, destroy apathy, and we are obsessed with creating momentum so we can roll over bureaucracy and make our greatest contribution. Sure, we pay attention to their rules, but only so that we can bend them, break them, then rewrite them around our own will. We don't accept our destiny. We define it. We don't understand defeat because you only lose if you stop, and we don't know how. While the rest of the world strives for average and clings desperately to the status quo, we are the minority, the few who are willing to hallucinate there could be a better future, and instead of just daydreaming of what could be, we endure the vulnerability and exposure it takes to make it real. We are the evolutionary hunters, clearly the most important people in the world because entrepreneurs are the only source of consistent, positive human evolution and we always will be.
We as entrepreneurs need far more help than the average person to reach the destination we want to get to where we want to go, but any request for help often leaves us feeling vulnerable and exposed. Can you relate to this? Can you feel that? Last night we had one of our support calls for our coaching program and we had a couple of our members sign on. I'm not going to use their names because I didn't get permission, but I'll paint this scenario for you. They are in a business that was closed due to the virus and it has just opened up and almost immediately because they applied the right systems, they pivoted, they are working like crazy. They went to 140% of pre-virus business levels. So they haven't gotten back to where they were. They've actually gotten to 140% of where they were. And as a result, here's what's happened. The CEO of the business has transferred a lot of their responsibilities to their operator, and now the operator is fully and totally overwhelmed.
So we had a conversation last night about why she's overwhelmed, and in our conversation, here's what I started noticing, and this is an issue that is about as old as entrepreneurship itself. She was having a hard time delegating, getting help. She was stuck in this loop of, if we make more business come, then I get more overwhelmed, but I'm so overwhelmed that I can't stop to get help. I'm so overwhelmed that I can't get the help on my team that I need.
Hey, Nancy. Hey, Judge. Thanks for being here. And here's what I could feel in the conversation and here's what I could tell was present in the conversation because I've seen it hundreds, maybe thousands of times is that entrepreneurs who get overwhelmed in a business get to a place where they're afraid to get help because they don't think it will be perfect. And here's the loop that really happens. The way she described it was "I'm working so hard and businesses coming in and I can't stop to get help or train or onboarding somebody or any of those things. Any attempt I make to get help. I'm just giving up what I'm doing in the day and it becomes more overwhelming."
Well, then I asked a simple question. "How likely is it that you are having trouble getting help because it needs to be perfect?" And she laughed and the CEO laughed and they both kind of gave knowing looks of, that's probably what it is. So here's what I want you to know. Delegation, especially in a fast growth business, should be imperfect. Here's the mental challenge that so many entrepreneurs build for themselves. We build this challenge of as soon as I can delegate this perfectly, as soon as I can hand it off to somebody with all the directions, all the system, all the structure, all of it done, then I'm going to do that. But until then, I'm going to beat myself with it. I'm going to do everything. I'm going to overwhelm myself. I'm going to stay overwhelmed. And that condition slows down the growth of our business because here's the reality for us as entrepreneurs. If you're anything like me, then you live for one thing, and no, it's not income. It's momentum.
Momentum creates the income. Heck, that has to be part of the equation. But as entrepreneurs we live for momentum, and what happens to us so often is we get to a place where the momentum we can create on our own is not enough anymore. And so we want to do more. We want to contribute more. We want to make more happen. We want more momentum. And so we build a team, and the challenge with offloading to a team, the challenge with getting that team to help us is that we feel like we have to do all the work.
Here's why. Now, I want to off the hook. I want you to know why we think this way. I want you to know why I had that conversation last night and why I knew to have it because this is such a clear pattern. See, here's what happens to us as entrepreneurs. In the early stages of the business or even the early stages of an operator position like what we talked about last night, you are doing everything in order to be successful. When you first start your business, it's you. There's no one else. Who's going to create the success. You have to do it. So as you do everything and you talk to everyone, you sell every client, you do everything in the business, then you finally create success.
Here's what happens. This is psychological conditioning to keep you doing everything. You did everything. It created success. Now, doing everything is the way you feel. You can create success. Hey, Lena. Thanks for being here. So that conditioning slows us down as entrepreneurs, in fact so much so that last night when I said, "Do you think there's anyone?"
Here's the scenario I painted for the operator I was talking to you last night. I said, "If you went to your team and you told them, 'Hey, everybody. I'm overwhelmed. I can't do it all.'" They have about a 30 person team. "And you just went to the people who you deal with, the people who report to you and say, 'You know what? I'm overwhelmed. I can't do it all.'" And I said, "What would happen if you were fully transparent with them, if you told them everything that was going on for you, and told them you really needed help. Even if you don't know how to get the help, what do you think what happen?" And she said, "I think they would probably want to help me." And I said, "Do you think they could?" And she said, "Yeah, I think they probably could." And so I said, "Do you think you can do that?" And she said, "Yeah, I think I can." And she had realized that what was holding her out was this mental anguish around delegation should be perfect. Delegation needs to take work. Delegation needs to be all of us. That is the opposite way to do this.
Now, I am very familiar with this feeling. I've got some notes over here. I just want to make sure I get everything in here. I'm familiar with this feeling. Will says it's the hardest lesson I had to learn, for sure. When I was in my 20s, I felt like not only did I, I have to do everything, but I had to understand how everyone else was doing things in my company. I had a company that was a multimillion dollar revenue company and we were responsible for over $250 million in sales for large firms. We did a ton of consulting and packaging and all kinds of other stuff. I was in my 20s and I worked probably 14 hour days. I think I worked seven days a week for years without really taking time off. Sometimes I would take a half day here and there. And the reason was I didn't know how to delegate. The reason was, I didn't know how to get help. The reason was I felt like until I understood how the person I was giving the work to was going to get it done and I could do it as well as they could, then I couldn't delegate that and coach them and help them. What a massive mistake.
Here's what I learned as I grew in business. As I got out of that business and started another one and as I grew to the business that we have today, here's what I've learned. Delegation should be imperfect, especially in a fast growth company. Because here's the fact. You doing everything and trying to do it all yourself and overwhelming yourself and working too many hours and burying yourself is much more detrimental to you, to the business, to your members, to your clients, to your patients, whatever it is for you than you delegating something and having a mistake made where you have to coach along the way. And so delegation should be imperfect. That's what I finally learned how to do and that's why my business it's changed.
Here's what happens when you learn how to imperfectly delegate and then coach. I'm going to tell you how to do it in just a second, but I want to give you the benefits. First you get massive leverage in your business because if you have any part of this equation of I need to do all the work before I hand this off, then the sooner you figure out that you really don't, you will get massive leverage and the business will start growing faster.
Second, you can give up the whole I'm going to do it. You can actually delegate outcomes to people. You can tell them what success looks like and have them go get it for you rather than you having to drive all of the success in your business. And here's what interesting. They're probably going to be better at it than you. Here's what happens over and over again in dealing with entrepreneurs. They get into this loop where they're doing everything, they're overwhelmed, they don't feel like they can delegate because they can't delegate perfectly, so then we encourage them to imperfectly delegate and they come back to us and they're like, "You know what? You're not going to believe this. I delegated to the people on my team. I had no idea how they were going to do it. I told them what the outcome was and they did it better than I did. How does that work?"
And we often just suggest or explain that's all they had to do. You're running the business. You're operating in a huge practice. You're you're doing all of these things. If you hand one thing off to a team member and then you coach them as to what success looks like, chances are they're going to have the time, the effort, the energy, the focus to actually achieve better than you will. And the way you build a strong company with a strong foundation is to offload what you need done to the people around you so that they can help you do it, help you get it done and get there, and that builds a far stronger foundation than you trying to do everything. See, the act of being able to delegate imperfectly and coach success along the way, changes everything.
Here's how you do it. Instead of telling people what to do, how to do it, what their checklist is, and each step along the way, which is how a lot of us feel delegation should work, you need to disavow those feelings and instead give the people around you clear outcomes. Tell them what the finished project looks like, tell them what success looks like, tell them what you want the end result to look like, and then have them pursue that end result through delegation and coach success along the way. We call this going from transactional management to transformational leadership.
See, here's what perfect delegation looks like. It's transactional. It's tell someone what to do with all of this stuff, all of the details, check that it got done, then tell them what to do again. Then check that it got done and tell them what to do again. Then check that it got done and tell them what to do again. If you've ever been a manager or a leader and you've tried that transactional management, it is brutalizing for you and for the team member. It's funny. We don't want to ever micromanage, but when you don't give people clarity, you end up micromanaging like crazy, especially if you're trying to hold all the cards or control everything.
So instead, go to transformational leadership. You give people clear outcomes, you coach them their success along the way, and then you and your team get leverage results. Again, I'll repeat it. It's a simple process. You give people clear outcomes. Then you stay in contact with them. If they get stuck, if they have a question, you coach. You don't have to have all the answers. You work through the answers with them. Tell them they're responsible for getting the answers. You'll help them if necessary. And then you get leveraged results. They grow. You grow. You learn how to work together better. You actually see what of outcomes they can produce in your business and your entire business will shift. And here's what's magical. Your impression of what you can get done will expand.
And here's what happens when our impression of what we can achieve expands. The future that we're constantly creating grows more possible, grows bigger, and enhances. See, as entrepreneurs, if we're constantly doing everything ourselves, then when we orient towards the future and we focus on where we're going, part of that future has the limitation that we're going to do most of it ourselves. Part of that future has a limitation that we can't imperfectly delegate. Part of that future has a limitation that we can't get all the help we need. Then, as you start to imperfectly delegate in the present, as you start to work with your team, as you start to give clear outcomes, coach success and get leveraged results, here's what happens. As you look towards the future, your impression of what is possible will change.
I can't tell you how many times we brought somebody into our business or in as a coaching member and say, they're at a million dollar business, and they'll say something on the way in like, "I'm in a million dollars. I'm overwhelmed. Someone told me that I could have a $10 million business because my idea is so good, but I just can't see it." And why can't they see it? They have a block. The person who was looking at their business, I often look at people's business and I'll say, "Man, with that idea, that's a 10 to $100 million business," and they'll tell me, "I just can't see it." And I explain to them, "The reason you can't see it is you have this block of it has to be perfect. I have to do it all myself. I can't imperfectly delegate."
The second you do, a new horizon completely opens up. It happens all the time in our coaching business where we bring in a member, they say, "I can't see it," and then within three months or six months of working through our frameworks, imperfectly delegating, getting the help they need, they come back and they'll say, "We're at 1.5 now or 2 million now and I can totally see 10. I know exactly what that person was talking about now." Why? Because they no longer have this block of I have to do it all myself. I have to perfectly delegate. I have to build all the systems. I have to have all the answers.
When you imperfectly delegate, you let your team bring you answers, you collectively all together move the business forward. And if you're in a place where you're overwhelmed, you do it much quicker than you will ever do on your own. Remember, trying to do it all yourself and getting overwhelmed is nowhere near as effective as imperfectly delegating, growing the people around you, coaching success and having them help you get out of overwhelm and move things in your business forward. It will change your business in the present, it will move things forward and create momentum, and it will change your impression of what is possible in your business. Period. Imperfect delegation is a game changer.
If you'd like some more help with growing and scaling your business, having a strategic plan so you can imperfectly delegate, understanding how to do these things, we would love to help you. We have memberships for entrepreneurs at each level of growth of business. You can go to predictablebusiness solutions.com. That's predictablebusiness solutions.com. Answer a few questions from my team, jump on a call with one of us, and let us show you the memberships we have and how we can help you move forward, grow your business, and build the team that you want so you don't feel like you're doing it all yourself. And remember, doing it all yourself is much harder than imperfectly delegating and getting the help you need. Let's open up a much greater vision of the future and what is possible for you. Go to predictablebusiness solutions.com. We look forward to talking to you.