If you are a former leader who founded his first business, I have good news and bad news for you. The good news? You know more about startup leadership than most new entrepreneurs. The worst news? The way you have been taught to think about delegation is dangerous.
What do I mean by that? Of course, to achieve your vision, tasks must be accomplished, but leaders who divide tasks as they do as a task manager at best micromanage. Generally, they also dilute their vision, disturb their management team and waste all staff time.
What should delegated executives? Development and communication of their vision or a critical way of thinking itself. While it's hard to give up a bit of control over the future of the company, the founders and CEOs – at least those who want to grow their business – have no choice but to trust their management team.
From your mind to the managers
The founders bring the vision to the table. But unless they want to work 24 hours a day, they need to help their managers understand what this looks like in practice:
1. Dream in a team.
Have you ever noticed that ideas only materialize when you drop them? Discussing your vision requires you to express it, giving others a chance to consolidate their weaknesses and enhance their strengths.
Start with your statement of intent, what Graham Kenny Strategic Factors advises that your vision must actually be based on what your business really needs to accomplish. The Life Is Good's lifestyle brand is "Spreading the Power of Optimism", while the Honest T's Beverage Company is "creating and promoting tasty and healthy organic beverages".
Whatever you want to do, think about what the world could look like if you succeed. It's your vision. If you want to improve performance evaluations, for example, your vision could be "a world in which managers would communicate clearly and employees grow steadily".
2. Create a lookbook.
What happens if one or more members of your management team can not imagine your future? Communicate it aesthetically. When I was working for an interior design company, my clients often had trouble expressing what they wanted. It was only when I created a style lookbook that my clients were able to point out that I realized how powerful visual communication can be.
In my current business, On transport, our designers create mood boards to check their understanding of the vision and bring the creative team to the same page. Our product team uses wired structures to show the engineering team what the product should look like before it is built. I have created a printed focus guide that every member of the team can consult. Depending on your product, the best visual or audio means can be used.
3. Create a map or global project template.
Once your management team sees the vision, show them the way. Although it seems obvious, employees need to understand how their work plays out, but most do not. Establishing models that show how each task or role fits into a broader vision helps your management team to communicate that vision to its members.
When the marketing team of my company started to grow, I mapped the customer's life cycle. We are now creating projects that correlate with a particular stage of the model. I then created similar cards for the customer experience and the engineering teams. "It makes so much sense when you combine all the work," said a manager.
Do not assume that your managers are mental readers. Draw your starting point, your immediate next steps, and your goals over a year. Whenever possible, include the tools that team members will need, giving managers enough time to introduce strangers.
PSend your card or template with step-by-step explanations to your management team. Then e-mail it to all staff so that managers can view it at service-specific meetings. Trust your managers to break down the vision into tasks the size of a task and assign them to their teams.
You may have a vision, but you can not realize it until the rest of your team has seen it. First, take a look at your managers, modify them with their comments, before using tools such as cards to pass on to the entire company. It may be a delegation style different from the one you are used to – but again, is the entrepreneurial spirit what you are used to?