Delegation. We’ve all heard the word, and we all think we know what it means. Some of us even think we know how to do it. But do you really understand how to leverage this amazing tool to achieve your goals in your child care center?
I bet most of you understand the “idea” of delegation. In its simplest form, it is assigning tasks to other people. But what I want you to understand is the “reality” of delegation. Understanding your unique talents and using those talents to achieve greatness.
But wait – if delegation is assigning tasks to others, why are you telling me that delegation is discovering your brilliance? Glad you asked, because this is where I see so many people fail at delegation. Anyone can tell someone to do something, but the art of delegation is knowing the right task to give to the right person. You see, delegation begins long before you assign a task, it begins with knowing yourself.
I’m going to share with you the most valuable exercise I have ever done to increase the productivity of myself and my team. I want you to write down every task that you do. I know it is a lot of tasks, but trust me, write everything down. Then I want you to categorize each of your tasks into one of four categories:
- Your Unique Brilliance. Everything that you LOVE to do goes into this category. These are things that you are brilliant at. You would do these tasks all day long for free because they are your unique talents.
- Your Excellence. This is everything you are really good at. You enjoy doing, but not as much as your Unique Brilliance. If this was your only job, you’d like it, but it’s still a “job”.
- Your Competence. You can do these things, but they really aren’t things you like doing and probably someone else can do them better, these tasks just seem to always fall on your plate.
- Your Incompetence. You really aren’t good at these things, but somehow you are still the one doing them. You also really hate doing them, but if you don’t do them, then who will?
Think about everything in categories one and two. What would your child care center be like if the only thing you had to do each day was take care of the tasks in categories one and two? Would you be more successful? Would your center run more smoothly? Of course it would! But, you are probably like the majority of child care owners, and as you are imagining how great that would be, you are already worried about how the things in categories three and four are going to get done, aren’t you?
This is where most people get stuck. The tasks in categories three and four are things that HAVE to be done. Maybe compliance, scheduling, grocery shopping, classroom observations, paying bills, etc. These tasks are not optional. So as an owner, you must use your precious time on these non-optional tasks. Therefore, you need to learn the reality of delegation.
Delegation begins in your head. You must have a clear vision of what your ideal life looks like and what your ideal child care center looks like. Write down what your goals are for your life and your business. Where do you want to be personally and professionally in one year? Five years? Ten years? Delegation is going to be the map that gets you there!
One more thing. Look at your category one and two tasks and make sure that they match what your goals are for yourself, personally and for your business. Are you in alignment with what you want out of life and the tasks you’ve identified as what you love doing? If they aren’t, you might consider rearranging the categories of your tasks to ensure they line up with your goals. (for example – if your goal is to only work 20 hours per week, then you couldn’t put tasks in category one or two that take 40 hours per week to complete – you would always conflict with yourself)
Now that you know yourself a little better, it is time to focus on getting the tasks in categories three and four delegated to someone else.
First, don’t just assume because you have a Director or Assistant Director underneath you that they are automatically the one you assign these tasks to. Find the person that would put these tasks into their “Unique Brilliance” category.
Next you need to make an initial time investment in training this person to complete these tasks. Then create a way to hold them accountable for completing the task.
And lastly, get out of their way and let them do it! No one will ever do it the same as you, and that is ok!
Focus your time and energy only on things that move you forward with your vision, completing only the tasks that are in your unique brilliance. Develop a team that can complete all of the other tasks that are necessary for running a child care center. Then step back and watch everything come together for greater success than you could ever achieve on your own.
The art of delegation demands that you know yourself.
That you know what you want and that your goals/vision/tasks are aligned.
That you find the right person to assign any of your tasks to that do not align with your goals and vision or your unique brilliance.
That you train them, and allow them to take ownership of those tasks and to complete them in their own way. It takes time and effort and a lot of self-training (and self-restraint at times!), to develop a fully delegated team, but trust me, the effort is well worth it! I’m an example of that, I still run my two child care centers while living 80% of the time in Mexico!