Mastering the Art of Delegation as Your Company Scales

The art of delegation starts with hiring the right people. Any start up has its eye on fast and even exponential growth. When your business model is right, then you may find your company expanding faster than you had ever imagined. Scaling a business involves aligning all aspects of your company with the growing markets it faces. Both internally and externally. Having the right people in the right positions is the bare minimum required to keep achieving your business goals. Delegating will be much easier when you are fully confident in your key staff.

Hiring the right people

Jack Ma advises us, “don’t hire the best people, hire the right people.” Words of wisdom.

Tony Fernandes, CEO of Air Asia says, “I can usually tell within seconds of meeting someone if I want to hire them. It’s in their eyes, whether they have passion and dare to dream. My first management trainee, Jonathan Yabut, embodies the same passion that saw Air Asia through those tough times. From the start, I knew he would go far. He didn’t disappoint. Jonathan consistently demonstrated his hunger to win throughout the series. Even when he was not project manager, he always stepped up and took charge of his own fate.” As Air Asia grew from one plane to a large fleet, hiring the right people meant that delegating was automatic, as the company scaled, because of the team.

Leadership Training [restrict]

Education teaches people how to think. Many Leadership Development Programmes fail. Either the trainer or the syllabus is not appropriate or the executives are not engaged. Some things don’t always go according to plan. Training is recognised to make up only 10% of the skills required to competently perform a job.

The 70:20:10 model created by the Centre for Creative Leadership leads us to believe that 70 percent of the skills we need are learned on the job. Learning to delegate then depends on the situation. As your company scales, this evolves. Here are some tips on delegating to your key staff.

Measure results regularly and fairly

Leaders who delegate effectively devise the right performance metrics and hold individuals accountable to them. As your business scales, change these metrics. Continuously gather data about what individuals and teams are accomplishing. Use this information effectively by distributing it; the criteria and the results, clearly and quickly to everyone involved. When this indicates to a person or a team that isn’t delivering, reimagine how the task should be delegated.

Build a culture of openness

Good leaders are open to considering new approaches. Suggestions offered for new proposals must be supported by solid research, not opinions. Use your intuition to scrutinise concepts and analyse everyone who might be a stakeholder in a change you are planning.

Make the right resources available

Effective leaders must provide relevant training so the teams charged with handling certain work have the skills and tools to do it. Allow those who succeed at new assignments to take on fresh challenges. What about sending your key staff on a Big Data training course, soon?

Demonstrating competence

Give the responsibility for accomplishing something to others, but let them sort out the best way to go about accomplishing it. That gives your team a chance to prove how intelligent, talented, capable, and committed they are, or are not.

Recognise and reward

Recognise achievements and exceptional work when you see it. Leaders who delegate effectively should be watching out for future leaders who can distinguish themselves when they’re given the chance. Reward appropriately, when appropriate.

Whilst your staff is learning new business software, it may be difficult to delegate certain tasks to them. All businesses in Asia face a ‘talent shortage’. So if you can’t find people who work autonomously to hire, then you are going to have to make the best of what you have got at the time.

Try mentoring your new recruits. Set them a test. See how they get on. Give them feedback, fast, without breathing down their necks as a micro-manager. Then monitor them as they embrace their learning curve. Then repeat. Building competencies in your staff is not that difficult. It requires strategy, and a little time.