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Q&A: Delegate and prosper
May 5, 2017  |  Kenelm Tonkin


Jonathan Avery of Plano, Texas, asks:

Dizzy spells on my way home from work led to a hospital visit and 9 days off work. On my return, I was shocked at the consequences of my absence. Quality standards I oversee dropped. Deadlines for a marketing launch were missed because I couldn’t sign-off. $37,000 in forward sales I’d developed evaporated. No-one covered for me to collect receivables. It’s pretty sad when, after 5 years in business, I can’t even be ill without my company falling apart like this. I need to make my small business independent of me. How?

Kenelm Tonkin, Chairman, Tonkin Corporation answers.

Devolve your responsibilities until your labor is not required. It’s a 9 step process as follows:

Step 1. Write a list of all tasks performed in your company. Be as detailed as possible. Don’t forget the small things everyone does.

Step 2. Now create job titles for each role employed in your company.

Step 3. Move the tasks created in Step 1 underneath the job titles you listed in Step 2, reflecting who’s doing what currently in your business.

Step 4. Review the result. Many entrepreneurs discover their role is bloated with tasks. This often happens because many business owners are perfectionists, haven’t learned the art of delegation or simply don’t trust employees to do the job properly.

Step 5. Of the tasks under your job title, highlight the five you least prefer to do in red.

Step 6. Move the red tasks to other job titles as appropriate, bearing in mind that your employees can’t be overloaded and the limits of your own cash flow to recruit new people to take on your red tasks.

Step 7. Concentrate for a month on doing your remaining, more enjoyable tasks better and building your cash flow.

Step 8. Repeat Steps 5 to 7 until you have no tasks to perform other than (a) recruiting, training, monitoring and replacing an employed managing director, and (b) attending monthly board meetings. When you reach this point, change your job title to non-executive chairman.

Step 9. Spend as much time as necessary at the hospital or, better, take a well-earned holiday comfortable in the knowledge your business produces a healthy profit without your labor. Congratulations!


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