Gold Medal Delegation

When the recent Games of the XXVIII Olympiad came to a close in Athens, two events stood out in my mind as perfect examples of the importance of time management:

1. Teenage swimmer Michael Phelps, America's most-celebrated Olympic athlete, matched Mark Spitz's record of four individual gold medals with a stirring comeback in the 100m butterfly. Phelps pulled off an incredible feat in the final 50 meters, making up a half-body length to nip teammate and world-record holder Ian Crocker by four-hundredths of a second.

2. In the men's 100m track and field final, the United States took first, third and fourth. The time separating Justin Gatlin's gold medal performance from teammate Shawn Crawford's fourth place finish was again four-hundredths of a second. That means after running more than the length of a football field, four men crossed the finish line separated by less time than you can start and stop a stopwatch.

Fortunately, most small business owners don't have to overcome such narrow time margins to achieve success in their endeavors. The key for you is to get the most out of your entire working day. Once you identify your Genius Time - those high-impact activities that lead to your peak performance and bring the biggest return to your franchise business - your Olympic challenge becomes disciplining yourself to focus on it regularly. To do this, you must become a gold medalist at delegation.

Success Handler Action: After you finish reading this e-newsletter, spend some time thinking about things you do in your small business that could be given to others with a few minutes of instruction. These are "Delegation Tasks" that may require you to go over the "how to" with a person the first few times, yet could easily transition to someone else's responsibility on a regular and ongoing basis. Here are some questions to help you get started:

~ What things did you do today that someone else could have handled?

~ Where are you spending time that your instincts tell you someone else should be doing?

~ Why do the 'smaller' things keep getting in the way of accomplishing your 'bigger' goals?

~ When you are away for awhile, which employees 'get things done'?

~ Who in your small business best accepts new challenges?

Eliminating Delegation Tasks does not necessarily require increasing your payroll. It can be as simple as choosing a few of the less-important things you do frequently (our clients often mention answering the phone, making bank deposits, copying and filing), and transferring them to an existing employee.

The second step to maximizing your Genius Time is to identify your "I Wish Tasks." These are the two or three things you wish someone else would do, and they may take an hour or more of guidance on your part to get this person up to speed (invoicing and writing thank you notes are two examples that come up during our coaching sessions). When you think about how much money your time is worth per hour, it probably makes sense to off-load these to someone else.

Success Handler Action: If you don't have people on staff to handle Delegation and I Wish Tasks, it won't cost a fortune to have someone take them over for you. Here are five places to look for the right person to give you four or five hours each week at less than $10 per hour:

1. Friends and neighbors who left the workforce to become stay-at-home parents

2. Family members who could use some extra money

3. Full-time college students looking to create work experience for their resumé

4. Seniors who retired from successful business careers

5. The best volunteers in your local elementary school's parent-teacher organization

Olympians train for years for the chance to have their moments of glory. Whether legends like Jesse Owens or those who finish out of medal contention and fade from the spotlight, each takes on the enormous challenge of the Olympic motto - Swifter, Higher, Stronger.

Developing your Genius Time won't occur overnight. You'll find yourself drifting off course and allowing Delegation and I Wish Tasks to interrupt your productivity. The goal - your gold medal - is to commit to changing how you approach your role in your small business. Delegate those things that aren't of Olympic importance, and spend your time focusing on the areas that give you the best shot at celebrating victory.

Copyright © 2004 by Success Handler, LLC. All rights reserved.

The Coach, David Handler, is the founder of Success Handler, (, and specializes in helping small business leaders find clarity and take action. He understands the challenges of running a business, because he's been there - as a small business owner, franchisee, franchisor, corporate leader and trainer. Much like sports coaches, his coaching will show you how to compete on a level playing field in your industry.

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