Building a team of top
Previously, we’ve talked about delegation. My
friend DL, who is also co-author of Salvaging Millions, shared
a story with me about how his father delegated a task to DL early
in his career. When DL first came into management, he was responsible
for putting the numbers together for end-of-year projections. His
father sent him back to the calculator more than once because he
knew DL didn’t have the projections right.
Rather than do the work for him, his father insisted DL rethink
the numbers until he learned to think them through properly on
his own. This is sound management and good delegation.
You want to train your delegates by having them go through the
mistakes themselves. Make them do it. It’s time consuming in the
short run, but it will create a winning team in the long run.
You don’t just want followers. You want accomplishers. Accomplishers
are people who are capable of taking on a task themselves and completing
it. You don’t create accomplishers by doing it for them. You must
require that they learn what you are delegating.
Remember, the real gain for DL was the self-confidence he acquired
as he matured from the experience. The praise was, “Now I know
you can stick with it.” DL’s dad had helped his son cultivate the
perseverance necessary for the tough management decisions that
would come later. And, the habit of perseverance he established
was every bit as important as getting the numbers right!
In one specific instance, to better illustrate, DL worked closely
with his father while learning to forecast budgets. DL’s delegated
responsibility was to explain the financials to his dad. During
those times there were often differences between what had been
budgeted and what was actually there. DL’s father would require
DL to explain the difference. The father would not do it for the
“Well, it’s close,” DL would say. But his dad never accepted the
“Why is it off? I want you to tell me why it’s off,” his dad would
counter, especially on things like real estate taxes or insurance
In this one instance, the figures on an insurance payment were
double the projected cost.
“Maybe it’s just timing,” DL parried.
“No, it’s not timing because we thought that out in the budgeting
process. Go back and analyze it until you can tell me why.”
On re-examination, DL found that the company
had inadvertently made a double payment. It was $10,000 too much.
It was an embarrassment for the young DL, but an incredibly valuable
lesson. Had his father pointed it out to him rather than forcing
him to find it himself, DL might never have learned the lesson.
To this day, DL practices the same technique of requiring his
people to work the numbers until they can explain any discrepancies.
His managers learn to think through things and bring valid projections
forward without wasting time. He has built a team of accomplishers
by practicing sound delegation.
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Ron Sturgeon is past owner of AAA Small Car
World. In 1999, he sold his six Texas locations, with 140 employees,
to Greenleaf. In 2001, he founded North Texas Insurance Auction,
which he sold to Copart in 2002. In 2002, his book “Salvaging
Millions” was published to help small business owners
achieve significant success, and was recently reprinted. In
June 2003, he joined the new ownership and management team
of GreenLeaf. He also manages his real estate holdings and
investments. You can learn more about him at WWW.autosalvageconsultant.com
He can be reached at 5940 Eden, Haltom City, TX 76117, firstname.lastname@example.org or
817-834-3625 ext 6#.