Guest Blog: The Art of Delegation

Tips for Running More Efficient and Effective Events

10 Mar 2023Guest Blog

Running an efficient and effective event means managing lots of different moving parts. Though it can be tempting to do as much as you can yourself, are you delegating what you should? If not, you might want to ask yourself what is getting in the way of you getting rid of the tasks that you hate and focusing on the things that you'd like to prioritise? Carol Foussat, the Programme Leader of the Business Growth Programme at Cranfield School of Management, and a Director of the Little Box Office, writes a blog for us on The Art of Delegation.

What my experience has taught me

For the last 17 years I have worked on, and now run, the Business Growth Programme at Cranfield School of Management. It helps smaller organisations grow - typically from half a million to £1m turnover to several times that size. One of the key things I notice again and again about what enables that growth, is delegation - the way in which leaders step up, letting go of activities that others can do and focusing on the activities that they need to do to make real change. Holding on to all the roles they used to, stops them standing back, having perspective, making important decisions and driving forward on the biggest opportunities or challenges the organisation faces. Yet, despite knowing that this is what needs to happen, so many people struggle to delegate. Why?

I think there are a few things going on here!

  1. One of the biggest is that as the person running the show, we know how to do the work - usually we have done this job for years and are brilliant at it. So handing it off to someone means that it won't be done the way we would do it, and for those of us with a strong dose of perfectionism, we like it to be done our way!
  2. This is also tied to the fact that by handing it to someone else, we will need to take more time initially to train them in how to do things. So what I hear people saying is - 'it's quicker if I do it'. And they are right! In the short term it is! However, in the long term it is yet another thing on your to do list. And an opportunity missed to skill up another member of the team and help them grow.
  3. We like to be indispensable… part of job satisfaction can come from the sense that we have a crucial role to play, so delegating something feels like it is making us less crucial to the business. However, any outsider can see that an organisation is safer if it is not dependent on one person.
  4. The things that we are moving towards may create some anxiety. If we've got to the stage of success by doing the stuff that needs to get done, then delegating may make us feel uncomfortable. Looking at a new strategic IT system, creating a new marketing plan or setting organisational goals may be new to you and something you don't feel competent to address. But if you don't do them, they don't get done. This is how organisations get stuck. They keep living the same year over and over again and can't grow.

How - and to whom - can you delegate to?

For some of you, there may be members of your team who are able take on your tasks. However, often with growing organisations, resources are tight, and the only way to delegate more is to work with suppliers, expecting them to take on more. The key types of supplier that can do this are IT companies, HR and recruitment companies, legal firms, and marketing and website agencies. Because they are specialists in their field, they can simply do work that people in your organisation would struggle with. Working with the Little Box Office, I have seen how small event organisers, with no IT specialist, can pass out the core operational functionality of ticket sales and administration and as a result, have in place a system that enables them to scale their offering. Instead of being dependent on one person in the organisation, if they have staff turnover, TLBO simply re-trains the new member of staff and their business can keep functioning well.

I hope this article has triggered you to think about how you work and what changes you could start now that would free up some of your valuable time. Good luck!

About Carol

Carol Foussat is the Programme Leader of the Business Growth Programme. She has been working on the programme since 2005 and has helped dozens of companies transform their businesses and themselves. Carol specialised in organisational change and leadership on her MBA. She has a Professional Certificate in Executive Coaching from Henley, and an Economics MA from Cambridge University. Carol also runs a couple of Advisory Boards for business owners who want to continue their learning and development journey, facilitates group boards, and is the executive coach of many MDs of growing businesses.