Think for a moment about the skills you haven’t perfected. What tasks do you do every week that test these skills you don’t have built in (or have any interest in mastering)?
For example, I attended YouTube plumbing school because landlords occasionally need to snake a drain or fix to a leaky toilet. I learned these skills —skills I have no interest in mastering — because at one point I had more time than money in the business bank account. That doesn’t apply so much anymore, yet I still want to reach for my tool bag when I get those calls. Why? I don’t have a good answer, which probably means I shouldn’t do these tasks.
Like you, I should take the early part of the year to assess. It sounds simple enough: Which tasks directly contribute to your business or career success, and which don’t? What tasks can only get done by you? What tasks do you still do that you really should delegate? It differs for everyone, but it starts with that moment of self-assessment.
Maybe you just started out in drilling or construction. Your indispensable skills boil down to a strong back and an eagerness to work. Moving up from there often involves the strategic addition of skills. Learn sonic. Get mud mixing down to the science it is. Learn to manage projects. People often add skills and their related tasks but focus less on subtraction. A skill you added 5 or 10 years ago out of necessity might no longer further goals in the way it used to. Yet you muddle through and it eats up time that you should spend elsewhere.
Take plumbing, for instance. I can troubleshoot a toilet tank assembly, fix the occasional clog and, on a good day, install a faucet — more handy than most, I admit. On a recent Sunday, I fixed a running toilet and fished an unidentified something from a basement drain. I call that a successful plumbing day. Yet, for every successful plumbing day I have, I get two or three others where I spend hours banging my head against a clogged pipe only to give up and call a real professional. Landlords can often find themselves in plumbing situations that far exceed a limited skillset.
Why don’t I delegate in the first place? Why don’t you?
The answers likely have a lot to do with expediency, money and stubbornness. I think I’ll just knock it out quicker, easier and cheaper than someone with better training. Then I find myself spending hours on a Sunday afternoon fixing a toilet with a better than 50/50 chance I have to call a plumber anyway.
Plumbing, for me, provides a great example. I still do some of my own work but, over almost a decade managing properties, I steadily shifted the line toward delegation. Yes, I grumble at paying at least $100 every time I call a professional, but I have no interest in mastering plumbing. Anyone I call has, and can do the work faster and more effectively than I ever could.
What examples do you have? People who run businesses often bootstrap: I learned the plumbing skills I have because, early on, our business’s finances demanded it. Maybe you learned enough bookkeeping to get by. Maybe you handle all the paperwork for your government bids. Whatever tasks you do for your business or career, you have a specific skillset and, by definition, a whole list of things that fall outside of that skillset. This month, spare a few minutes to think about all those tasks you do that you really shouldn’t. Now delegate, and spend more time on tasks only you can do — the things that make your business grow.
What do you think? As a drilling contractor, what tasks can you delegate for success, and which ones depend on you? Let us know. Send an email to email@example.com.
Stay safe out there, drillers.
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