How To Delegate Effectively and Be Completely Satisfied With the Results

Republished from the Dec 19, 2022 issue of Authority Magazine by interviewer, Ben Ari.  Link to article ONLINE:

As part of my series about the “How To Delegate Effectively and Be Completely Satisfied With the Results”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jason Henderberg from Henderberg Business Solutions. Jason has been helping small businesses to grow efficiently for over 30 years with a very wide range of real-world business knowledge gained in manufacturing and construction-based leadership roles. He loves to continuously learn, share, and apply the latest in business methodology with his clients. Jason specializes in providing small business owners with a repeatable, systems-focused culture that defines their best practices and removes workplace stress.  In his solo-consulting practice, he focuses on determining a business’s optimum customer, identifying the critical systems that support that client type, and then teaching the owner and staff how to clearly document those systems. The result is an easily accessible, trusted playbook of responsibilities that allows all team members to delegate effectively.

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?

Thanks, since I was young, I have always looked for ways to organize my life better and make things more efficient. As you can imagine, this didn’t make me the cool kid. But when I got older and my career progressed, it allowed me to be the trusted, go-to guy when someone needed work to get done accurately and resourcefully. When I began learning about Total Quality Management (TQM) in the 90s and later, Lead Six Sigma and 5S efficiency practices, I knew that this part of management was my core professional competency. As I developed my leadership style, I found that what I could give my team to help them the most, was to create a framework that would simplify their day. This was done by understanding exactly what they do, what areas they could delegate, and then documenting everything in a concise manner. After working with Gregg Vanourek as a career coach, I had an epiphany that what would bring me the most satisfaction at work was to stop being employed by one company and have the ability to help many companies, across seemingly disparate industries. It was the right choice for me and I love that I can help improve the lives of so many businesses now.

Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey?

Actually, I have been very fortunate not to have hit any hard patches so far, and I attribute that to hard work. I have had side hustles my entire life and this entrepreneurial work prepared me for jumping into operating on my own, as a full-time venture. Maybe that should have been a sign decades ago, that I wanted to do my own thing, but I was already building websites, marketing, doing my own accounting, etc., so when I hung my shingle out, the transition was totally natural. It was actually more of a relief than a hard situation because I finally had the time to focus on what I had been diligently building after hours. I’m also privileged to have a great professional network that opened its arms to me right away, so I have never been without a full plate of work. Did you ever consider giving up? No, never, I love what I am doing now. Where did you get the drive to continue even though things could have been hard? My parents taught me early on that “If you see something that needs to be done, do it”. My Dad worked a lot of hours for our family and my brother, and I have always had that same drive. Additionally, I raced cars through the 1990s and traveled to race tracks all over the northeast to compete at a high level. This type of hobby builds a unique ability to not only “grind it out no matter what”, it requires you to be curious and find solutions to problems while under a lot of pressure.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting out?

What is funny to me (and I regularly do smile about this) is that I made the mistake of not trusting my instincts a long, long time ago. Everyone uses this cliché line: “trust your instincts”, but it is so true. When you work for someone else, in the same place, and with the same people every day, you don’t realize how closed off your mind gets. I knew that I could perform at a high level and in many diverse settings, but often Imposter Syndrome would creep in. That employment safety net really makes you think that you have to work for someone because you might fail if you try to leave and achieve more. Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that? One thing that I’ve really enjoyed learning is that everything usually works out the way it should — especially when you put in the hard work. For example, I no longer get upset if someone cancels a meeting or a client’s scope of work has to change (again). That’s life and it happens. Now in those situations, I relax and watch for the better opportunities which usually pop up due to those unexpected changes. It might sound new age, but it’s really awesome to watch unfold on a regular basis.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Well, as a solopreneur, there is no place to hide. The company is me. If I don’t perform well, there is nobody to blame but me. So my goal is to provide an exceedingly high amount of value while working with my clients. Because I am a very curious person at heart, I have a very wide range of experience in all sorts of disciplines. I may not be the expert in them all, however, it gives me the ability to relate to people from many walks of life and in all kinds of unrelated industries. I love this variety and I think it sets me apart from other consultants who may only be a specialist in one area.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Good question — I know the phrase “life balance” is pretty overused these days but if you are going to work for yourself, it’s important to have a firm handle on your business’s 5 W’s. 1: Who are you trying to help (yourself, your family, or even philanthropy)? 2: What is your goal for being in business (more free time?) 3: Where do you want to allocate your time every day (think home vs work). 4: When will you reassess your work-life priorities (things will change quickly). And 5: Why are you in business (what gets you excited about work every day). I meet so many business owners who have never stopped and dug into these questions. Without doing so on a regular basis, how can you subsequently strategize where your business is going? Get clear on who you are first.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful for who helped get you to where you are?

Yes, that would be a previous boss of mine, Gary Cvejic when we worked together at a printing company in Rochester, NY. Can you share a story? Sure, Gary was the one who opened my eyes to process improvement and how systems can make everyone’s life so much easier. When any ancillary task came up that nobody else wanted to do, he would offer it to me. He knew I would take it on full steam and get deep into understanding how to improve the role. Having many opportunities put in front of me, allowed me to exercise my innate curiosity and expand my skill set rapidly. It made me who I am today and why I can offer so much to my clients across many areas of running a business from safety to marketing or systems improvement.

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 you don’t have a firm grasp on what your core competencies are and learn to delegate the responsibilities that are not best served by you at your executive level, you will never be able to scale your company. You can’t do it all and what you like to do may not be what you should be doing. When you started your business, you needed to be involved in many areas because revenue may have been low and you couldn’t afford to hire staff. Often as the original visionary, you also need to set the bar early on, to your idea of a high standard. As your team grows, you will gradually lose touch with employees and you will certainly not have the time to do it all. You have to be able to properly delegate those less important tasks to others on your team in order to make time for strategy and vision.

Can you help articulate a few of the reasons why delegating is such a challenge for so many people?

What I see most often is that initially, ego gets in the way. Many owners feel that nobody else can perform certain tasks as well as they can. While this may be true in some cases, there are a lot of smart people out there who are experts in that area — you just haven’t looked for them. Many also don’t realize that some of the responsibilities they may not like doing, are actually jobs that others might love to do. Then as time goes by, doing it all and not delegating becomes habitual until they hit a wall where they are burnt out and their actions are actually hurting the company.

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?

You have to get very clear on every task that you perform in a given day. You then rank the tasks by importance and by that I mean, how important is it that only I do each job? The question that I encourage leaders to keep in mind at all times would be: “Is this task something I am going to do more than once and is it something that someone else could be doing?”. If you can say yes to either of these points, you need to record yourself doing that task properly and then document the steps. Once this is done, you can now provide clear instructions to a teammate or outsourced assistant and get it off of your plate.