Are You Trying to Do It All Yourself?

by Brad Harmon on November 5, 2010 in Entrepreneurs

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Photo courtesy of iStockphoto/abdesign

One of the largest issues that small business owners face is transitioning from being self-employed to becoming a true business owner.  It’s just you in the beginning so there’s nobody else to whom you can delegate.  Once your business reaches a point where you can hire employees it still seems like you are doing most of the work.  Sound familiar?

As we pick back up our 20 Entrepreneurial Lessons from Creation series, I couldn’t help but notice that God sets a good example for us by not doing all the work of Creation Himself.  That’s right.  God delegated out some of the work when it came to creating the heavens and the earth.  Obviously, God didn’t really need our help; however, He included us in the process.

Set Up the Framework Then Delegate Out the Details

When God went about the work of Creation, He took care of the big items.  He set the framework of life.  He came up with the big ideas, and He personally named them.  Look at what God took the time to name in the Creation account: Day and Night (Gen 1:5), Heaven (Gen 1:8), the Earth and Seas (Gen 1:10).

In the Old Testament names had great significance.  Naming a person, place, or anything else was not something that was done lightly.  Isn’t it interesting then that God gave responsibility for naming all of His creatures to Adam?

19And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. 20And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. – Genesis 2:19-20

Adam also named Woman (Gen 2:23).  Who’s idea was it to create Eve?  Of course, God knew all along that He would create Adam a mate; however, is it possible that Adam pointed out this need to God?  Did God go through this exercise with Adam to get him to buy into God’s plan for him?

I don’t know the answers to these questions, but it’s a great model for us as business owners to follow as we start to bring on employees.  Design the vision and major systems, then let your employees help you finish out the process.  You may, like God, not really need their help to finish it; however, creating a sense of ownership and partnership will be worth it.

It Will Be Quicker to Just Do it Myself

If you foster this type of environment from the beginning then you can avoid one of the worst exclamations a business owner can utter, “It’ll be quicker for me just to do it myself than to explain to you how to do it.”  I’ve been guilty of saying this myself more times that I care to admit.

While it’s usually a true statement, what ends up happening is that you start taking back tasks you delegated to your new employees or you never delegate them at all.  Instead of creating an environment where your employees have ownership in the process, you create one where you are overworked and your employees feel incompetent and unneeded.

I’m sure that God probably chuckled or scratched His head at some of the names Adam called His creatures.  It’s likely that God would have come up with better names, but He knew that Adam needed to have an ownership stake in Creation.  God designed us all with a longing to feel wanted and have a sense of purpose.  By not delegating the workload to your new employees you are doing an injustice to them, as well as, yourself.

How do you find time as a business owner, or leader, to delegate tasks that would be quicker if you just did them yourself?  How are you fostering a work environment that has your employees sharing in the ownership of your vision and ideas?

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Sue Miley November 5, 2010 at 9:28 pm

Love this post Brad. I learned somewhere in my past that you should delegate anything someone else can do 80% as well as you. You need to delegate with enough time to review and help them to get to the 100%. I agree it is very important not to just take it back and finish it yourself.

As a solopreneur, I don’t have the big organization to delegate to like I did in the corporate world, however, there are opportunities and I need to work more diligently at finding them.

Thanks for the post.


Brad Harmon November 8, 2010 at 8:49 am

That’s probably a good level of proficiency to follow. I think it’s important that we delegate not just to lighten our burden, but it’s very helpful to those around us. When we try to do too much ourselves with people around us capable of performing these tasks then too often we create an environment that discourages our employees to think on their own and make their unique contributions.
Brad Harmon recently posted..Lessons from the Carpool Lane


A. Tatum November 6, 2010 at 1:10 am

I love this post and the perspective it gives. That’s what I love about God and His word. You can here something time and time again, but it can always be presented a different way. On the part about Adam needing a help-mate I would personally say since God has all knowledge I think he presented Adam with a situation to see how he would respond. Which goes right into our lives everyday. How will respond to the situations God puts before us.


Brad Harmon November 8, 2010 at 8:53 am

I read it the same way, but I’m leery about coming out and proclaiming “This is what God was thinking…” (I’m sure I’ve done that at least a few times in my life though). I use this method with my son to teach and reinforce lessons. It works very well.

It is amazing how you can keep finding new ways to apply God’s words with each reading, isn’t it? Thanks for the comment.


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