Build a succession plan with your direct reports and train them on many of your tasks, especially the daily or weekly ones.
Tie employees to the vision and direction of the company so they are connected to it.
Review their work and give transparent feedback frequently.
As part of my series about the “How To Delegate Effectively and Be Completely Satisfied With the Results”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jim Miller, an entrepreneur, accountant, personal finance expert, author, dad and former-rock star focused on creating things that make the world better.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
I am a hard rock musician turned accountant. I haven’t met a lot of people like that. I currently work as the CFO for two great companies here in Los Angeles and also own my own successful publishing company.
Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?
Businesses always have a hard time at some point and, for me, I always prepare for the worst. That can be a stressful place to live, but it also gives me an edge against competitors who may not yet have their tree stuffed with nuts for the winter. And that is what drives me… staying ahead of competition.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?
Sorry, I cannot think of one worthy of this article right now.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
What makes my publishing company stand out is the medium we invest in and work with. There are theology, philosophy and personal finance books, but also a growing music library with more aggressive styles of music. It’s an odd mix, but I am passionate about all of it.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Do not live in your notifications. If you cannot take an hour to spend time processing because you have to stare at your phone, you have not built the right people structure. Leaders looking to 10x or 50x their businesses need to hire people they can learn to trust and move tasks to.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
I have certainly had little boosts from many people over the years, but I do not have mentors, per se. My mentors are book authors and the podcasts I listen to. Would really love to hear if I am a loner in that regard or if others claim the same.
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. Delegating effectively is a challenge for many leaders. Let’s put first things first. Can you help articulate to our readers a few reasons why delegating is such an important skill for a leader or a business owner to develop?
If a leader cannot delegate, they will hit a ceiling on their ability to grow. Additionally, they will be unhappy and have unhappy employees. I have seen this in really smart and talented people many times. I used to struggle with this in my early years too. I thought it was best for me to do the best work. Couldn’t have been more wrong.
Can you help articulate a few of the reasons why delegating is such a challenge for so many people?
There are three reasons a leader does not delegate: they don’t know how, they think they’re the only one who can do a task or they don’t trust their employees. And if they don’t trust their employees, they should consider that they might have the wrong people reporting to them.
Sometimes that can be the case. But, more often than not, it is a matter of inexperience with the leader on how to delegate tasks. Leaders need to take the time to properly train people and to engage them in the vision of the company, so that they take pride in doing their work. Time is a valuable resource and many bad delegators don’t make time to help people grow. The problem is that they end up spending more time doing or redoing the work themselves.
In your opinion, what pivots need to be made, either in perspective or in work habits, to help alleviate some of the challenges you mentioned?
The best strategy that has worked for me over the years is to assign responsibility based on dollar amounts. For example, give each employee a dollar amount that they can make decisions up to. The goal is to increase this dollar amount over time as experience is gained and trust is built.
The goal of every leader should be to help people grow and accomplish their goals. And if you’re not challenging people and giving them frequent and honest feedback, they will not accomplish much.
Can you please share your “Five Things You Need To Know To Delegate Effectively and Be Completely Satisfied With the Results?” Please share a story or an example for each.
- Build a succession plan with your direct reports and train them on many of your tasks, especially the daily or weekly ones.
- Tie employees to the vision and direction of the company so they are connected to it.
- Give each employee a dollar amount that they can make decisions up to.
- Review their work and give transparent feedback frequently.
- Repeat steps 1–4 until you have a structure that allows you to get away and lead from a higher level.
One of the obstacles to proper delegating is the oft quoted cliche “If you want something done right do it yourself.” Is this saying true? Is it false? Is there a way to reconcile it with the importance of delegating?
That saying is true and makes sense if you are a really small business. But if you want to scale a business and not completely burn out, you need to learn to make time for proper training and to help people get better. Obviously, if someone is incapable then you move on, but successful leaders need to learn to be excellent at this process.
Think of this process as if you are trying to create a successor to yourself. Take time with that individual, or individuals, and show them what they need to know. You will be creating a very happy and devoted employee in the process.
Thank you for all of that. We are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Create more than you consume. This is #1 in my list of 50 things I want to teach my child: https://iamjimmiller.com/50-things-i-want-to-teach-my-child/
How can our readers further follow you online?
Visit my website at “I am jim miller .com” for all of my links, but my handle is “iamjimmiller” on most social platforms.
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!
Thank you. Really enjoyed connecting with you and your audience. And I always love sharing what I have learned in the hopes it helps other people. That’s why I wake up every day.