Well let me explain. I went to a robotics workshop with my son during the school holidays. The instructor first put on some DVDs showing how far robotics technology has progressed, and it is amazing. It won't be long before robots are a normal part of our lives. You may have seen a recent TV commercial urging you to buy a UFO-shaped robot that vacuums your house while you laze on the couch. In Holland in an aged care facility there is a robot that takes the washing to the laundry, pours and serves drinks to the elderly - and it keeps track of how much liquid each resident is served each day. Another four legged version (like a headless horse) could walk over almost any terrain including rocks and stairs, and another was bug sized and could fly around the room just like an insect. All this is available now if you have the money.
The instructor then got the kids to put together a robot themselves. There are two parts to robotics - the hardware assembly, and then the computer programming or instructions. Without the programming the robot will do nothing, it just sits there, useless. The instructions are everything.
This is just like business. Basically every function of your business, from customer service, production, cashflow, marketing, day to day operation... are all based on a series of instructions that we follow to get the job done.
Now here is the problem. In most businesses the instructions are in the owners head. This means the business must rely heavily on the owner to perform many of the basic functions. The business owner only has limited time, so this can start to cause problems very quickly. The business becomes inefficient as staff have to rely on the owner relaying instructions to get things done.
The obvious answer is delegate, get someone else to do it. What I hear you say is "Daniel, that's all very well but how will I know that my staff will do the job as well as me? After all it's my business and I have standards". Good point however the reality is that a job delegated properly can still have the standards you need and expect.
Let me give you an example of how this played out with one of my clients. My electrician friend wanted to get off the tools so he could spend time improving the business. But he was concerned that without constant supervision, his workers would not provide the same standards he was giving his customers. What if they didn't complete all the safety checks? After all this is electricity we are talking about. Or, what if all the parts for the job were not charged out, what if, what if...
All these things he would normally check when overseeing jobs are simply a set of instructions that he follows in his head.
So my electrician friend is now putting together a list of principles and detailed instructions for his workers. He has made these into a checklist his workers tick off and sign. Now if there are any problems with the job he can go back through the signed checklist for each job, he can see if everything was completed correctly. Now he has the freedom to work on getting more customers and making more profit without being constantly on site checking work.
Start thinking about how your business can be systematized with checklists - so that you don't need to micro manage your staff and be there holding their hand every time.
Action Point: Take one task in your business that you normally do, but don't want to do anymore. Create a checklist of instructions. Delegate this job to someone else, and then check that the list is followed a few times until you have confidence that the job is being done properly.