Delegate or Die: Ultimate Delegation Thought

By: Jim Roddy, VP of Marketing & VAR/ISV Business Advisor at the RSPA

To help VARs and ISVs delegate effectively, the RSPA is creating a series of blog posts that will dissect delegation into tangible, digestible actions. Access Part 1 of our series here (The 5 Steps to Effective Delegation), Part 2 here (Systems + Controls = Maximum Delegation), Part 3 here (10 Decisive Delegation Actions), Part 4 here (Your Odyssey from Founder to President to CEO) and read Part 5 below.

In addition:


View your job as though you are a consultant to your company – and only a consultant. Delegate most of the regular, repetitive work to enable yourself to have the time to act as a consultant to your key employees.

As a consultant, you should identify opportunities and problems, then talk with your employee who is responsible for the resolution. Like a consultant, you don’t go to work on the initiative; you advise the people who will get the job done.

Talk to your key employees about:

  • the hurdles in their way of solving the problem
  • what resources they will need
  • how they feel about the problem in front of them
  • help them brainstorm a list of potential solutions
  • listen to them evaluate which solution they feel is best
  • guide their direction

Consider yourself the captain of a large ship. Ocean liners have different people responsible for every job necessary to get the ship from its point of departure to its destination. There are employees responsible for navigation, the engine room, communication, steering, and every other critical job. The captain is not the doer of any of these jobs.

The retail IT channel’s #1 trade show, education conference, and networking event is back! Visit the RetailNOW 2021 website and register today.

Throughout the voyage, the captain receives reports on status and progress of each key area. When a correction is required, the captain doesn’t get bogged down doing the work. That would result in other key areas being neglected.

If your company wants to grow, the leader has to function as a consultant or ship captain – or be demoted to a doer.

Half Day at Your Desk
If you are spending more than four hours a day in routine management, you are wasting your own time and stunting your company’s growth. If the leader’s job is properly organized, you can accomplish in a half day what it takes a disorganized leader to accomplish in 10+ hours. At first glance this may sound unreasonable – if not impossible – but it can be accomplished with the proper plan, people, and reports.

When this concept was first presented to me as a company president, I furrowed my brow for sure. I was already arriving early and staying late – how in the world could I pack all that into a half day and then free up the other half? We started by developing reports for key facets of the business: sales, operations, and financials. Then our team collaborated to establish procedures, systems and controls, and reporting structures to keep our organization on track.

I attended key meetings – some weekly, some monthly, some quarterly – that enabled me to see where we were winning and where we were falling short. Tying it all together were my monthly one-on-ones with key leaders, usually a long lunch away from the office. During these casual meetings, my entire agenda focused on these three questions:

  • What’s your most important challenge or opportunity?
  • How can I help?
  • What else?

I would bring to these lunches a notepad, a pen, and notes from our prior meetings. The notes made sure sufficient progress was being made by both of us on issues discussed at earlier meetings. As the general manager, I could help marshal resources and coordinate among multiple departments to help that key employee achieve the desired outcome.

If I was bogged down with daily responsibilities, these long lunches wouldn’t have been possible, and I sure wouldn’t have had time to follow through on my commitments.

Ultimate Delegation Thought
This series of blog posts is titled “Delegate or Die” because if you don’t hand off day-to-day duties to focus on growing your company, your organization will collapse or slowly fade away.

But what if you suddenly died or were forced to retire? What if later today you’re the victim of a terrible accident – what will happen to your business? Imagine in detail how your business would continue without you. Think of the contributions you make and what would happen to your organization without those contributions. Visualize each of the points you interface with the company throughout a typical month.

If your business isn’t prepared for your death (or retirement) today, it isn’t properly managed. Your answer should be that your business would run smoothly – moving forward without interruption.

Don’t wait until next year … or the year after … or the year after that … to run your business correctly. Start delegating today.

Don’t forget to register for RetailNOW 2021, July 25-27 at the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville. It’s Where The Industry Meets!

Jim Roddy is the Vice President of Marketing and a Business Advisor for the Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA). He has been active in the POS channel since 1998, including 11 years as the President of Business Solutions Magazine, six years as an RSPA board member, one term as RSPA Chairman of the Board, and several years as a business coach for VARs, ISVs, and MSPs. Jim has been recognized as one of the world’s Top 100 Retail Influencers by RETHINK Retail, a Leading CannaTech Influencer by 420MSP, and is regularly requested to speak at industry conferences on SMB best practices. He is author of two books – The Walk-On Method To Career & Business Success and Hire Like You Just Beat Cancer – and is host of the award-winning RSPA Trusted Advisor podcast. For more information, contact