One of my favorite TV shows is “Kitchen Nightmares” which is seen on the Fox channel on Friday evening. Chef Ramsey, if you have ever watch his show, has a way to rectify things in the kitchen particularly as it relates to food issues, menu items and restaurant management. Recently the show centered on an Owner, Chef, Waiter, Janitor! This fellow worked from 6 AM until Midnight, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Despite having a staff in the kitchen and dining area, he did everything from mopping the floors, washing the dishes, purchasing food and cooking. Since owning the restaurant, he had not taken any vacation time from the business. The first few months, the restaurant was doing exceptionally well but for the past year or so, it has been bleeding money where the owner stood to lose well over $750,000 of his own money. What happened is that he refused to delegate!
This scenario is not unlike other small business ventures where the owners become jacks of all trades in trying to keep the business afloat. Eventually frustration enters and the weary owner/entrepreneur burns out. As I watched this episode, it was apparent that he had the staff to do the job, he just would not let them. Let’s take a moment to review what needs to be done in order to keep the business operating successfully and also in a fluid motion. As we operate a business, it should get easier as we successfully navigate the industry and build strong staff support.
What are the job requirements/responsibilities? ~ You cannot do everything yourself! Does your employee understand what his tasks and daily jobs are? Are the expectations clearly presented and understood?
How are you going to monitor progress and training needs? ~ Are you in the kitchen as our scenario above presents or are you a sales manager who is managing from a distance? If you are managing from afar, how do you stay in contact without being overwhelming? How do you set standards of performance? How do you review these performance measurements?
Which tasks can be delegated? ~ There are many responsibilities in the restaurant…what tasks can be assigned to others? On my list of priority items, where is this task? Do I need to do this task myself? How important is the control factor? If operating a sales team, look for several areas that you can delegate and enable your direct reports an opportunity for growth.
- Coaching new hires.
- Mentoring a new or tenured representative.
- Conducting field analysis and data mining.
- Hiring and recruiting trips with the direct manager.
- Convention or conference attendance.
- Team Administrative Assistant
Am I using the proper technology? ~ Are my appliances up to date to smoothly run this restaurant? As a sales manager, am I up to date with my data mining? Have I trained my sales people to use this information if available?
How am I communicating? ~ Is my direction consistent? Is it clear & concise without any shades of grey? Beyond verbal communications, do you have a formal SOP with written direction?
Can I trust the person who I am delegating to? ~ Will the end result of the work be done on time and will the team member be responsible in handling the tasks?
Can your team trust you? ~ Will they feel that open communication is blameless and that they have the needed information to succeed?
Many new managers or owners such as the restaurant example above tend to try to do everything themselves. Years ago, the old adage was in play…”If you want something done right, do it yourself”. Today with a wealth of knowledge and employees who want to succeed, that adage should not be part of the equation. If you have made the right selections in the hiring process, the delegation of certain tasks will allow you and the company to prosper. In many cases, the job will be done better than you could have done it yourself!
If you are an entrepreneur and have control over incentives, let people in your business know that you value their efforts and that there is a pay-off for good work. Develop a business and a reputation that working for XYZ company is good and reward those team members bonuses or some other incentives for going the extra mile. Other ideas may be a special party or outing out of your pocket. The rewards that you show in appreciation will repay you many times forward!