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The Number Two Function of Leadership

Posted by Douglas A Wick on Wed, Dec 11, 2013

Monday I spent 8+ hours with one of my clients working on strategic and annual planning for 2014.  I purposely say strategy and planning because they are two separate elements to work on. 

This client had a difficult year, and yet when we moved through the triumphs and victories for the 4th quarter and all of 2013 there were exceptional achievements.  You wouldn’t have been aware of how challenging the year might have been. 

Mid-year my customer discovered they were going to lose their top customer, who amounted to more than half of their revenue.  Delegate Tasks resized 600The CEO is take charge person, delegates easily, and is focused on documented systems and forecasting accurately.  This customer decision disrupted any forecast the company had made for the year. 

Last year one of his decisions had been to get more accountability to budgeting, giving each of his leadership team control of developing and forecasting their budget and revenues for 2013.  This delegation paid immediate dividends when these events occurred.  Within two days of the customer’s notice the team reforecast the remainder of the year’s budget.  The team also took immediate action to do something about the customer’s decision, scheduling an appointment with them, catching a plane to meet them in person that same week. 

The entire event sparked a renewed focus and enthusiasm for the team and the company to achieve their One Thing for 2013 reducing corporate vulnerability which was caused by this customer occupying such a large percentage of their business. 

By the end of the year the team restored a substantial part of the their largest customers revenue, developed a stronger presentation to deliver to prospect’s on the value and ROI their service provides, learned to delegate to their administrative staffs to get more done and invest more time strategically.  They appear to be on the verge of landing a very large customer who effectively will get them back on course to achieve next year’s revenue goal, their 3 year plan and their Strategy Statement’s ultimate goal. 

Can you begin to see the value of leadership’s ability to predict and delegate?

Without delegation the process of reforecasting budgets might have been chaotic, or at worst dictatorial.  The leadership team understood the consequences of losing their largest customer.  The adjusted plans accordingly.  Most important, giving them responsibility provided buy-in to the plan.

Delegating grows the people around you.  When you feel you have to control or deal with everything yourself you reduce motivation around you. 

Effective delegating leverages your capacity as a manager.  It’s begins the process of compounding what you do by empowering your team to do it for you.  Multiply that by the number of people you manage and you’ve more than compounded your leadership capabilities.  Delegating is an enormously effective tool!  It’s the only way a business grows. 

Delegating requires making good hiring decisions, having people in place that are capable, responsible and properly motivated to follow your lead and get the job done.

That’s another top function of leadership: People. It’s why this company utilizes Topgrading methods to make the proper decisions on the people they hire.

Is there a right and wrong way to delegate?

What key elements ensure you are delegating correctly to your subordinates and to other departments so they consistently fulfill our requests?

When I started as a salesperson, and sales manager, I consistently got bad reviews from my superiors on my ability to delegate.  You may not realize it but even within your organization’s departments there is opportunity to delegate horizontally.  Often time poor communication and understanding of the rules of effective delegation can put two dependent departments at logger heads, bottlenecking the entire organization.

We’ll look at Effective Delegation with a process you and your peers can use to produce better delegated results next time. 

Topics: leadership, Compounding, Leadership Team, effective delegation

Challenges of Scaling Up a Business 







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Doug Wick, President

Positioning Systems


The Strategic Discipline Blog focuses on midsize business owners with a ravenous appetite to improve his or her leadership skills and business results.

Our 3 disciplines include:

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