All successful entrepreneurs have mastered delegation – Here’s how they do it

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The best entrepreneurs understand that they can’t do everything themselves, and that delegation and teamwork are the keys to business success.

Do you feel as though you have far more goals than you have the time, energy, or capabilities to see them through? Do you often find yourself procrastinating on these goals, and then feeling increasingly guilty about it the longer you put them off? If you do, you’re not alone.

It’s a common complaint among business owners, and it used to be one for me too.

It’s as though they’re bursting with exciting, innovative ideas, but when it comes down to choosing which ones to implement in their business—and finding the motivation to make it happen—they get stuck.

They procrastinate, feel guilty about it, and then procrastinate some more. It becomes an endlessly tiring, confidence-depleting cycle.

Breaking the cycle

Having lots of ideas isn’t the problem here—the problem is believing you have to act on all of them yourself! For most people, and especially entrepreneurs, there’s a disparity between our ambition and our abilities, and we’ve been conditioned to believe this is a gap we’ll never close.

It comes as a surprise for most of us to learn, then, that there’s nothing wrong with having an idea and not wanting to carry it out. Being able to envision a bigger and better future is a particular skill, and it’s a defining one for entrepreneurs.

The ability to carry out your vision will require many skills working together, however, and they may not be skills you personally possess. And that’s okay.

That’s because, whether you think of yourself as a leader or not, just by virtue of being an entrepreneur in charge of a team, you are in fact a leader—no matter your industry, income level, or team size.

And the thing about great leaders is, their job is teamwork inspiration. It’s to envision a better future for everyone, but not necessarily to put that vision into action. Successful entrepreneurs know how to assemble and delegate to great teams that are capable of and willing to create the future they envision.

Who, not how

This is one of my most pivotal conepts. It is the basis for nearly everything we do, and it’s called Who Not How. I firmly believe that when you’ve procrastinated on a goal, the problem wasn’t the goal itself. Nor was it that you were just too lazy to act on it.

The problem was that you asked yourself the wrong question when you came up with it. You asked yourself, “How do I do this?” rather than “Who can do this?”

If you were the right “Who” to figure out the “How” of your goal, you wouldn’t procrastinate on it. Instead, you’d be excited for it! Your reluctance is a clear sign you need to find other “Whos” to figure out the best “Hows.”

As I mentioned before, the great “How” entrepreneurs possess the ability to see things in the future that are bigger and better. And with that ability comes one important responsibility: explaining your goal thoroughly so all the necessary “Whos” can do all the necessary “Hows.” This is how every successful entrepreneur has gotten to where they are today, and it’s the one concept that holds many entrepreneurs back from achieving exponential growth and the success they desire.

Those who truly learn to understand and embrace this concept often describe it as a watershed moment, where all of their biggest ideas and ambitions became possible. That was certainly how I saw it.

Defining “What” and “Why.”

The more clearly you can articulate what you want and why you want it, the easier it will be to get people willing (and excited!) to help.

The “Why” piece is particularly important. There’s nothing more powerfully or universally motivating than purpose, so don’t hold back when sharing why achieving your goal will be so beneficial, not just for you, but for everyone else as well.

Achieving personal goals, expanding capabilities, and making progress: It’s these transformative types of rewards that will attract the greatest “Whos” and provide increased teamwork inspiration.

And, since people work best when they have exact, measurable criteria for success laid out for them, you’ll need to describe in detail what your ideal outcome looks like: What specific things need to be true for your project to be considered finished and successful?

By eliminating ambiguity, you also eliminate any anxiety your team might have about not meeting your expectations. They’ll be able to make decisions on their own with confidence because they know exactly what they’re working towards.

With clarity come endless possibilities.

The Impact Filter, and its purpose is to help entrepreneurs gain clarity on practically anything in their life or business. This tool is particularly helpful for delegating any task or project, as clarity is paramount to successful delegation.

The first step is to clarify your thinking around a project or idea by considering what you want to accomplish, what difference it will make, what the completed project will look like, and what the worst and best possible results could be. From this, you can develop your specific success criteria to know whether you’ve been successful upon the project’s completion.

This type of exercise does two things:

  1. It clarifies your thinking about a project, forcing you to really consider what you want and why you want it.
  2. It communicates your thinking to your team, ensuring they know what you want and why you want it—and can act accordingly, using their best judgment rather than your direct supervision.

After all, great leadership isn’t about creating followers; it’s about teamwork inspiration and helping others to become leaders themselves. So the more adept you become at defining the “What” and “Why” of your goals, the less often you’ll need to supply your own “How.”

In other words, the more freedom you’ll have to dream big, and often.