Ready, Set, Delegate!

Task At Hand

Steve Leveen, co-founder and CEO of Delray Beach, Florida-based Levenger, a $70 million catalog company specializing in upscale products for readers and writers, vividly recalls when he hired his first nonfamily employees. It was a year after start-up, and, says Leveen, "I felt great relief. The people we hired helped with packing orders. That was a great boost to my productivity because I could then focus on areas that would help us grow."

Ask yourself how much you're delegating. "Most entrepreneurs don't know how little they're delegating," says Dailey. "Ask them, and they'll say they delegate a lot, but few do. Entrepreneurs are self-reliant, and delegating doesn't come easily to them."

What's worse is that many bosses delegate halfheartedly, says Leveen. "They know they should do it," he says, "but they feel they're the best at doing all the jobs. That's a dangerous attitude. Real growth requires real delegation."

How can you decide what to delegate? Begin with an inventory of the tasks that consume your day, Dailey advises. "Then ask yourself what you would be doing if you could best utilize your time. Usually the answers are thinking about new customers, developing new products and services, and grooming staff to take on new responsibilities. Once you know what you're doing and what you should be doing, look for disparities. Then start delegating so you can put your time into the tasks that will be meaningful to the future of your company."

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This article was originally published in the July 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Ready, Set, Delegate!.

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