Strategic delegating is key to success

As you map out your business strategy for the coming year, make a resolution that you’re only going to do the things you really enjoy doing and are very good at, and that are absolutely essential to the success of your firm, and that you’ll delegate all the rest.

Why delegate?

When it comes to running a business, there’s nothing worse than workaholic leaders ineffectually banging their head against the wall and gumming up the works because they won’t delegate.

Rather than feeling as if you’re shirking your responsibilities, what if I told you that delegating would be the best thing for everyone?

When I coach or mentor advisers, strategic delegating is a key lesson, and one that frankly, I myself took much too long to figure out. As counterintuitive as it may seem, if you spend 2021 primarily doing things that are a combination of what you most enjoy, what you are really good at and what moves your company’s needle, and let go of everything else, you’ll finish the year ahead of where you ended 2020.

[More: 3 steps to leverage year-end planning and kick-start 2021]

But is it really that easy?

Here’s what you should do. First, make a comprehensive list running down the left side of the page of all your activities over the course of a quarter. List everything from meeting with clients to managing portfolios, trading, research, marketing, financial planning, paying the bills, negotiating leases, dealing with vendors, hiring everything.

Next, make three categories across the top of the page: Passion, Skill Set and High Value.

Then give yourself a score on each activity in each of those three categories from 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest.

Try not to overlap. For the passion rating, forget about how important the function may be to your practice and focus entirely on how much you like doing it. For example, you may really like talking with vendors and wholesalers (4), but you may hate trading (1).

On skill set, be honest with yourself. Let’s say you love managing portfolios, yet you’ve underperformed the benchmarks. If that’s the case, then give yourself a low number.

High value measures how much impact the activity has on the bottom line of your business. For example, prospecting for new clients is one of the greatest drivers of business value. Paying the bills, while important, not so much.

Once you’ve ranked everything, hang on to those activities where you have a high degree of passion, you possess a high skill set, and that provide high value for your firm. Any activity where the total of the three columns adds up to less than, say, 9, should, if possible, be delegated or outsourced.

If you redirect the energy you’ve been spending away from all the things that don’t move the needle or bring you happiness, my experience has been that both the activities you are good at, and the activities you don’t like or are not so good at, will get more attention, and your business will have a better year because of it.

[More: Prep your firm for sale, even if you don’t plan to sell]

Scott Hanson is co-founder of Allworth Financial, formerly Hanson McClain Advisors, a fee-based RIA with $8 billion in AUM.

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