Throughout Jan I've been posting the "12 entrepreneurial lessons I learnt from 2009" series.
Installments so far: Introduction,
Lesson : #1, #2, #3, #4, #5
"If you want a job done well, do it yourself."
I have heard this maxim uttered by some of the smartest self-starters I've had the pleasure and good fortune to meet. All to rarely have I had the freedom, and lets face it, the guts, to tell them they're talking utter tosh.
It is a glamourous fallacy that those who can conceive of great things necessarily have the skills to execute them.
In a former incarnation I worked as a professional choreographer, and I can tell you first hand that I was far better at that than I was a dancer. It is all well and good for me to have a notion for the way a body can move, to picture the lines of the movement in my mind. It is an unrelated matter to command my body to make those forms.
But I wanted a great performance, so did I 'do it myself'? No! I hired great dancers! It's a surprisingly simple notion. Just give the task in question to the best person you can lay your hands on who's skilled at that particular activity. If you can't lay your hands on them, stalk them! After all as far as I can ascertain, that's what Twitter was invented for!
I accept that the commonly accepted counter argument to this idea usually lands between "they dont care as much about my business as I do" and "I will work harder than anyone else because I stand to benefit the most".
Well and enough. I accept that I probably care about my business more than anyone else in the world; this makes sense, it's my business! Yet I am still not convinced that I care enough about Red Button Design to render me magically better at our accounts than our accountant, our sourcing than our procurement team or our appropriate design strategy than James. Infact, I'm certain that no amount of caring can make me more than merely competant at those tasks. It's just not my skill set. Therefore it is my job to make it worth someone else's while to care, either about my enterprise or presumably they care about their job? And working on the assumption that it is their job to do whatever it is you hired them to do, they're looking for you to be a happy customer and therefore their own self interest is in parallel to your self interest. As I have said before, when it comes to my business, linking their personal gain to my aims is the most comfortable I'm going to get.
So rather than a job done well being a job done yourself, it's ok to admit that you can't do it all. More than that, it's vital. An inability to accurately evaluate your talents might be embarrassing at a karaoke bar, but it's fatal in business. Hence, lesson #6:
If you want a job done well, learn to delegate