Why is it so hard for a small business owner in the green industry to delegate some of his or her responsibilities? When you stop to analyze what it took to get them to where they presently are, it’s easy to understand.

First, in order for any small business owner to be successful, it takes a lot of hard work. Realizing that they can always count on themselves to do it the “right way,” it quickly becomes a habit to do any present task at hand themselves. Habits are funny things. Once formed, we have to live with them. As Zig Ziglar once said, “Good habits are hard to form and easy to live with. On the other hand, bad habits are easy to form and hard to live with. “ Developing the habit of doing everything—or most everything—yourself is easy to form, but as your business grows, it becomes extremely difficult to break that habit.

In his book, Pizza Tiger, Tom Monaghan of Domino’s Pizza confessed that he loved to make pizzas. He was good at it. He could knead and flip the pizza dough, and make it just right. But early on, when he was starting out with only one or two stores, he realized that if he was going to really grow his pizza empire, he was going to have to stop doing the easy stuff, making pizzas. Instead, he needed to start working on developing a good habit, which was more difficult to form: the habit of doing things that would expand his business.

Let’s face it, most business owners and managers have a hard time with delegation. But in a very real sense, they’re stealing from their company. Stealing, in this sense, means that they are robbing it of the use of the skills and talents of the people they have hired. By not delegating, they will not allow these employees to learn and use new skills to do their job.

The second way they are stealing is by continuing to do the tasks that could be delegated. This prevents them from doing the top-priority activities they should be doing to grow the company.

When I first started working with one of my past green industry clients, he had a very hard time getting rid of one of his ‘bad habits’. He didn’t trust his foremen to fill up the gas tanks of their trucks and their gas containers.

So, each night after they brought back the vehicles to the shop, my client would drive the trucks, one at a time, to the local gas station, where he would fill up both the truck and the gas containers. To say the least, this was definitely not a good use of the owner’s time.

As mentioned earlier, part of the reason an owner does not delegate is that over the years, they have had to engage in many different activities to make their business successful, and often they enjoyed doing many of those different tasks. However, in order to take their company to the next level, they must come to realize that unless they learn how to effectively delegate, their company can never expand and grow.

In my experience working with green industry owners, I have heard many different excuses for not delegating. Some of them are:

—They don’t feel anyone who works for them can do it “exactly the right way.”

—They don’t feel secure enough to give authority to others.

—They feel they will lose control if they give up some of their tasks or responsibilities.

—They don’t think the people they hired are intelligent enough to do it properly.

—They don’t trust the people that work for them.

—They don’t feel others have the skills to do the task well enough.

—By the time they show someone else how to do it, they feel they could have done it themselves.

—They just don’t want to bother with the hassle of delegating to others.

—They don’t want to stop doing the tasks they enjoy.

When green industry business owners learn how to delegate, here are some of the benefits I have observed:

—It gets the job done.

—It grows their people.

—It allows their people to feel involved.

—It creates better and greater productivity.

—It allows them to do more important things.

A good way to look at this idea of delegating is to look at the game of baseball. The manager can’t play all nine positions of the team. Even if he could play all nine positions, he couldn’t do them all at the same time. If he is going to do a truly effective job of overseeing and really maximizing the talent and potential of his players, he has got to be the manager, not one of the players.

Here are some basics of delegating a job effectively:

—Pick the person to whom you’re going to delegate.

—Plan out how you will delegate the job.

Explain to the person:

—What you want him/her to do.

—What you don’t want him/her to do.

—How well you want it done.

—When you want it done by.

—Discuss with them how they plan to do it and answer any questions they may have.

—Let them do the job.

So in summary, as Tom Monaghan learned to do, start delegating the right things to the right people and watch your business grow.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Tom Borg works with small and mid-size green industry companies to effectively and profitably improve customer acquisition and retention. For more information or to ask him a question, contact him at 734-404-5909 or email him at: tom@tomborg.com or visit his website at www.tomborgconsulting.com.