How To Come To Terms With Delegation

“When you delegate something, the person will only do it 80% like you.”

I don’t know where credit is deserved for the phrase, I heard it on a Youtube video months ago.  But it struck a cord with me.  The speaker went on to explain that this didn’t mean the end results were different, just the individual steps or order of tasks that lead to the end result.

As entrepreneurs and real estate investors, at some point most of us will grapple with the problem that our investments or business are more than we can effectively manage on our own and if we want to grow more we have to bring on help.  This is also a crucial tipping point for real estate investors and entrepreneurs.

Why? Because it’s also where most will falter and become stuck as a 100% self-employed business.  They become fixated on the idea that no one will do it like exactly like them.  That’s the stumbling point that prevents them from expanding.  Exactly like them.

It is true that no one will ever do something exactly like you do.  As a day to day example, consider your dishwasher.  If you delegate the task of the dishwasher to your spouse or significant other the end result will be the same but they will do it their own way. Maybe you both wait for the dishes to cool before emptying it, and you both start with bottom rack. But your spouse may put items away going left to right across the rack rather than grouping similar items and putting those away together.  They may remove the silverware caddy and take it over to the drawer rather than just pull out the silverware.  But you both fill the bottom rack with dirty dishes before pushing the rack back in and moving to empty the top rack.  The end result is still a dishwasher that is emptied of clean dishes and loaded with the dirty ones.  They did it 80% the same as you (give or take) BUT they ended up with the same result. Focus on the outcomes.

When you bring on help, whether it be your spouse, child, or outside hire establish procedures so you can ensure a similar end result while the smaller steps can be left for freedom of choice.  For example, an accounts payable procedure would serve as a guideline to help the new hire get the same end result of paid bills properly filed under the filing system and recorded with the correct G/L account. But they can be allowed freedom to tweak the minor things so it works for them.  Delegation is about letting the minor aspects go in the bigger picture of efficiency.

It’s also about understanding that our passion can’t be duplicated in other people.  It is an undeniable fact that very few people will put the same passion and work into your business that you do. You are heavily invested in it.  That doesn’t mean someone else can’t do an exceptional or adequate job at helping you manage aspects of your business. But for them it is a job. Something they leave at a given time of day and return to the next business day.  You can still get great workers who have enthusiasm for investments or simply want to do a good job for you.  Hired help if you find the good gems out there will manage the business 90-95% as “good” as you would, realistically most hired help will fall between 80-89% as good as you.  You trade a percentage of your “good” for some extra free time or sanity for yourself.

I have no problem delegating tasks for my  investments as long as the end result is the same and the task is at least 80% as good as what I would have done. Doing this gives me more time work on other ways to put my rental income to work for me. I can look at more properties, read up on industry trends, or devour a new real estate book. To me, that’s a fair trade off as long as I capitalize on using my free time efficiently to either make me happy or further my goals.

Corina Eufinger
Owner Brio Properties & CRC Investments

Categories: Entrepreneurship