In the sales, leadership and coaching courses I facilitate, I often hear that the participants want to do increase sales, be a better leader, and more but there is no time to _______ .  You can fill in the blank with a lot of things.  Most have to do with proactive activities or development – for themselves and their associates.

Throughout the course we discuss the need to empower and equip your associates and those around you for the long-term good of the company. Again and again I hear professionals express that they WANT to delegate more but they can’t because:

  1. It takes too much time and I can get it done faster myself.
  2. I don’t have anyone to delegate to.
  3. My team isn’t ready to do some of the things I do.

Sound familiar?  (I think this occurs at work and home for many of us…) But what are we doing when we don’t give others the opportunity to grow, try something and succeed?  We rob them of the opportunities that these experiences provide.  We also rob ourselves of precious time.

I’m not just talking delegation to subordinates (though that term makes me cringe) I’m talking delegation to the RIGHT person for the job.  This may be a colleague, your boss. an assistant, another department, etc.   It’s getting the right things in the right person’s hands.

funny_monkeyWhenever I think about time management, delegation and responsibility I immediately think of the great Harvard Business Review article called Who’s Got the Monkey?  It is a great visual of what happens when a “to do” is seen as a monkey that is crawling on your back, and how in the course of a conversation the monkey moves from shoulder to shoulder depending on who is taking or owning that responsibility.  It brings a great awareness of how easy it is to take a monkey that doesn’t rightfully belong to you.

The monkey is something that can be robbed from others needlessly. When you keep the monkey on your shoulders, you are robbing yourself and them as I already mentioned.  The question then becomes, how to remove some things from your To Do and get them to the right people?  Well, TA DA!  My dear colleague, Jonathan Farrington of Top Sales Experts, put together a wonderful one-page “assessment” for you to assess your time robbers.

If you are looking at your list for this week and wondering how it will all be accomplished, this assessment might be the place to start.  Look at what there is to do and then who should be doing it.  Of course getting rid of it might take some time and effort.   You might need to build a case on why that monkey belongs with someone else, and then teach them how to care for it before you can truly take that weight off your shoulders.

But who knows, in the long run you might just foil a monkey robbery…and get rewarded for it with time and appreciation.

What monkeys get stuck on your back?

I highly encourage you to purchase the article…it’s timeless.