I wonder how deeply or often many of us think about the art and science of delegating duties to our staffs? Do you see delegation as a necessary evil and royal pain in the you-know-what that you have to do to get stuff done? Or, do you consider it an opportunity to energize and challenge your team to help you grow your business?
You might be able to enjoy success regardless of which view is closer to the one you hold. My work with scores of owner-entrepreneurs, however, has taught me that the best way to scale your business is to do what I call “scaling your passion” with a well thought-out approach to delegation that goes way beyond simply assigning tasks and responsibilities.
Here’s how it works. Think of delegation as four conceptual “walls” you build around each employee and which they, in turn, can master. The walls aren’t meant to restrict but rather to create rules and clarity for every staff member to work by according to his or her abilities and motivation. These walls represent the “safety” that your employees need to feel in order to effectively receive and execute on whatever you delegate.
The four walls are:
1. Mission and vision: what do we do and where we’re going.
2. Core values: how we do it and why we do it.
3. Standard operating procedures (SOP): how we work together.
4. Roles and responsibilities: who does what.
Most small businesses focus on number four and maybe just a little on number three. The beauty of this construct is that by giving them vision and mission, core values, SOP and roles and responsibilities, you’re also giving them the power to make decisions day to day. Otherwise, you’re just telling people what to do—kind of like a factory. And we know that natural retailers don’t hire factory workers. They hire people who are passionately committed to improving people’s lives.
Putting this all down on paper gives you the opportunity to sit down with staff and say, “Okay, tell me where you think you fall on a grading scale of each core value, SOP and responsibility.” It starts a dialogue that you can go deep on. This level of dialogue and clarity are invaluable because now you can hand something off to staff and they know exactly what to do with it.
Finally, by scaling your passion, you’ll also be able to devote more of your energy to the longer-term focus required for scaling your business—whether this means growing your customer base, diversifying your revenues or adding a new store.
I invite you to check out the short video I put together called Scale Your Passion for Natural Retail. It explains the four walls in greater depth and suggests practical ways for you to think about implementing them in your own business.
I also invite you to let me know how it’s all working by reaching out to me on twitter @RobertUCraven or by email at email@example.com. I would love to share your successes with other retailers who might learn from your experiences.
Thank you for all you do to lead the true centers for wellness in your communities!