Tag Archives for " delegation "

Are you a perfectionist?

Client Relationship Management skills help when you need it at Da Costa

If you wear ‘being a perfectionist’ as a badge of honour then you are setting yourself up to fail.  By definition the perfectionist cannot succeed so it’s quite a self destructive mantra / character trait to have. In fact it is often referred to as “the highest form of self-abuse” because perfection simply doesn’t exist. More importantly, perfection is rarely necessary in day-to-day working and living (unless you are a brain surgeon). Don’t get me wrong, perfectionists are frequently high achievers but the price they pay for success can be unhappiness and dissatisfaction.

Perfectionists are also make for difficult managers, focusing on the minute detail (especially if there is a small error) and therefore easily missing or forgetting the bigger picture.  They are unreasonably demanding micromanagers who irritate employees by obsessing over nonessential details. Because everything is important, they are terrible at prioritising, perhaps the most important task of a manager.

Being a perfectionist manager also stops them from delegating because of course, no one will do it as well as them.  But, as I point out to clients, they are asking the wrong question.  Rather than considering “will they do it as well as me” they should ask “will they do it well enough?”, and if the answer is “yes” then they should delegate.

Are you a procrastinator?

Procrastination is often a symptom of perfectionism.  Perfectionists fear that they won’t be able to complete a task perfectly so they put it off as long as possible.  Perfectionists worry that failure will result in criticism or ridicule either from internal voices or external authorities and peers. The higher the fear of failure and ridicule, the more perfectionists procrastinate.

Procrastination is not laziness. It’s more a misguided sense of activity based on a low tolerance for frustration and failure. For example, when you delay completing a task that seems like it will take a really long time, only to realise that it took less time to do it than to think about it repeatedly.  That’s why one of my best time management tips is to make your to-do list and do the hardest thing first.

Procrastination is easy to spot: Are you doing what you want to be doing or are supposed to be doing, or are you surfing the web/reading Facebook posts/filing papers/doing laundry/running errands? If you answered yes to the latter, then you are procrastinating.

Breaking the cycle

1. Focus on progress, not perfection.

Get a clear sense of the purpose in everything you do. Then it will be easier to know which things deserve that extra time to get things “just right,” and which things don’t.

2. Set your minimum standard, and stop when you meet it.

Get clear about your minimum standards – and once you find an answer that meets those minimum standards, choose it. Stop searching for more options.

3. Get organised

Create your daily/weekly lists and do the hardest thing first

4. Get unstuck

When you get stuck and find yourself procrastinating, JFWDI (and if you want to know what that means, drop me a line!)

I run workshops on delegation and being a great leader and this is a topic that is discussed with more detail on strategies to overcome it.

So take your ‘perfectionist’ badge off and replace it with on that says you are a realist and a do-er.

Don’t sweat the small stuff

Keep track of your client relationships

If like me, you are a one-man band or small business, then it’s an ongoing juggling act to deliver the business, find new business and do all the admin to keep the business running.  How do we achieve this?  Well you might be super organised and get all that done within reasonable working hours or more likely, you squeeze in the admin in evenings or weekends, or when you absolutely have to get it done (how many people “don’t have time” to do their invoicing then wonder why they have cash flow issues!).

Even if you are super organised, is it best use of your time to be doing all your own admin?  After all wouldn’t you be better placed using your time to focus on delivering your work and finding new work?  Michael Gerber makes this very point in his book, The E-myth, which explain why it’s crucial for people who run their own business to have processes in place so that they can outsource those tasks that they don’t have the skills, time (or inclination) to do.

I finally figured this out for myself last year and decided to look for some business admin assistance.  After a few conversations with some virtual assistants, I enlisted the services of manfriday. James from manfriday, manages my diary (booking, confirming, rescheduling meetings), books my train tickets, types up my client notes and generally gets me more organised.  After 6 months support I feel that there are 2 key benefits from outsourcing this work:

  1. I delegate the things I really don’t enjoy doing
  2. It frees me up to work on developing my business and potentially taking on more clients (at a much higher value than the cost of the admin)

The great thing about this is that you can spend as little as £50 a month up to £1,000 a month – depending on the level of support needed and your budget.

I don’t want this post to sound like an ad for manfriday or the use of virtual assistants, it’s just that after I started using one, it was a no brainer and I wondered why it had taken me so long to start!  Also for those one-man bands or small businesses who aspire to grow, this is a vital step – otherwise you easily can get stuck in the cycle of having too much to do but not having enough fee earning time to grow the business.

So instead of sweating the small stuff and working long hours (have a read of my whitepaper on winning back time) doing tedious tasks you don’t enjoy doing, why not break the cycle and find the support from elsewhere.

Get a life and delegate!

Organisational skills 101 with Da Costa Coaching

A common problem for many of my owner / manager clients is prioritising their limited time when they have so many things to do.  One such client is Leo from Roar Accounting.  I worked with Leo for about 2 years and we made great strides in growing the business and helping with that ever-elusive work/life balance.

Roar was going through some rapid growth and the consequence of this could have been that ‘life goes out the window’ and Leo works long hours to ensure the clients receive the best service.  However, before this took hold we tackled it head-on.  Leo agreed to work with her marketing and admin staff to drill down and work out what she could delegate by looking at the workflow of client enquiries and other tasks. 

We are visual beings so coloured post it notes certainly is a good way to ‘see’ what we have to do and move things around to get the priorities right.  They have a lot going on!

No one does it as well as me!

Its easy to fall into the same old trap of ‘its quicker to do it myself’ when things get busier and we feel we ‘haven’t got time’ to delegate or show someone else how to do something.  This is when one of my favourite expressions comes into play ‘SLOW DOWN TO SPEED UP’.

If a management team just dedicates itself to servicing it’s clients without spending enough time in a ‘strategy space’ (and read strategy as where is the money coming from tomorrow?) then they will suffer the classic peak-trough-peak-trough scenario which is not good for business or your health!

Having been there before, fortunately this time Leo and the team (with my guidance) have recognised this and are freeing enough of Leo’s time up to continue to develop future plans and future business.

If this story rings true for you, i would love to hear your own experience so please get in touch.

Why we need to remove “I’m too busy” from our business vocabulary

Get in the right headspace with a business coach

How often are you so busy delivering your client work that other crucial parts of running your business (or team) don’t get done?  Never was it truer that we ‘reap what we sow’ and in the end this behaviour will bite you in the backside and you will either drop a ball or suffer from the feast to famine swings that affect many small businesses and small business owners.

It’s simple really, if you are so busy ‘doing the business’ that you can’t (won’t) take time out to work ‘on your business’, then who is steering your ship to avoid that iceberg that is up ahead?  If I had to identify the top 5 issues that small businesses suffer from, this would be near or at the top of that list.  If I could remove this phrase from our business vocabulary, I would!

Keeping busy

So if you are busy and want to keep it that way then you need to have an eye on the future, at all times, no matter how busy you are today.

The secret is to allocate sufficient time every month to work on the future of your business and where the money will come from tomorrow (this is your ‘business strategy’), and see this time as important as a client meeting.  The golden rule is:  stick to this time each week/month and if you have to move it because of a client conflict then you move it elsewhere. YOU DON’T JUST NOT DO IT!

Of course one of the reasons people don’t work on the future of their business is because they don’t know what to do – it all seems rather scary, so they content themselves with just concentrating on the now and delivering today’s client work.  Net result?  That feeling your business is taking one step forward and one back, or that your business has no direction and you feel a little lost and demotivated.  Sound familiar?

In order to be confident about the things you should do when you have strategy time in your diary, you need a clear business vision, clear strategy and measurable action plans.  Then you simply need to refer to your action plans when in strategy time, and identify the next key priorities that build towards delivering your vision.  Sound simple?  Probably not, so in you want to know more or want some help then please get in touch.

So next time you hear yourself saying “I’m too busy” remember what the consequences will be for your business in the medium term.

Want to learn more about time management?  Then download my whitepaper on the topic.