One of the hardest things for an entrepreneur to learn how to do is delegate. However, for entrepreneurs to grow their businesses, they must delegate. It’s a big challenge and an issue that we all need to work on.

According to the Gallup Organization, only one in four entrepreneurs who have employees have “high levels of delegator talent.” Also according to the Gallup Organization, “Founders who have and use the high delegator talent can generate better business growth and venture success than leaders who get lost in the day-to-day minutiae of managing a business.” So, the obvious question I have for you is: How good are you at delegating? And how can you improve your delegating talents?

When I started Grunder Landscaping Co. more than 30 years ago, I was not very good at delegating. Part of it was ignorance and the other part was my reluctance to add payroll. I was trying to make a business work on a low budget, so paying for people to help me wasn’t something I was comfortable with doing. I was just too scared to have anyone help me.

As I grew the business and got married and had children, I had to learn how to delegate to have more time for my family. I also learned that eight people could accomplish more than four and 12 could do more than eight and so on. In other words, I realized the value of delegating financially as well as mentally.

Delegating is not easy.

However, it is absolutely necessary if you are going to grow your company. Don’t agree? Then think about this statement that many successful entrepreneurs will tell you is true: Businesses that can run without the owner sell for far more money than businesses that rely daily on the owner to operate.

I know what you may be thinking, “Marty, I don’t want to sell my business.” I get it. Right now, I don’t want to sell my business either. However, I’m working very, very hard to get it to the point that it runs completely without me.

I might never get to that point, but I’m trying. I’m trying to get there because as I get closer to having a business that runs without me, I have more time to think and plan. I have more time to prevent fires rather than fight them. And that’s what you need to understand. One of the greatest things entrepreneurs can do is wake up in the morning and not have any emergencies or priorities they have to work on that day.

It is in that zone that you begin to be able to think and strategize and put those big dreams in motion. The successful entrepreneur needs to be able to think about tomorrow while his or her team thinks about today.

One of the greatest things entrepreneurs can do is to wake up in the morning and not have any emergencies or priorities they have to work on that day.
How do you delegate?

There’s no way I can explain the delegation process in full in this column, so let me hit the highlights. One, get job descriptions for all of the people on your organizational chart and if you don’t know what either of those things are, either Google it or call us. (Relax, I didn’t know what they were 25 years ago either.)

Job descriptions and org charts clarify expectations. They let your team members know what their roles are, and how they help the company win. Go overboard if you must to make sure your team members understand what they are supposed to do.

Two, let go. Give other folks on your team important jobs to do. Don’t try to do everything yourself. You’ll never get your company to where it could be, nor will you keep your best people if you constantly hold them back. You have to give them a chance to excel.

Three, give your team feedback on their performance – good, constructive, honest feedback that helps them get better. There’s a lot more to cover in delegation.

Think of yourself as a head coach in the NFL. Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots is a brilliant coach. I don’t care for his personality, but I can argue he’s a genius. How many touchdowns has he thrown? How many tackles has he made? How many extra points has he kicked? Sacks? He’s got none. You have to be like Belichick. He can’t go on the field and make a play. He can only coach them in practice, teach, instruct and show films.

Look at your role as a CEO like that. You can’t go on a job site and run a machine or even touch a shovel. You can’t go on a sales call. You can’t drive the big truck. You can’t do the plan for the new pool and hardscape your client wants. You can’t answer the phones.

All you can do is to teach and coach your team on how to do that. Each year in the NFL, we are amazed at the normal player that didn’t do much in college, but due to incredible coaching, he excels. Look around at your team. What could they do if you got out of the way? What could you do if you delegate?

L&L