This new monthly blog, Pivot Point, is focused on reinforcing insights we uncover in the Black Dress Circle peer roundtables I facilitate. In my ongoing quest to provide value to your business, I want to share some Circle reflections with those who may not yet be a part of these growth-propelling gatherings. The great content that comes from Black Dress Circle is most valuable when people absorb and take action on it, and this forum is just one way I can help you do that.

So why the name “Pivot Point”? From my business consulting and coaching work and PhD studies in business psychology, this is what’s clear to me…

As business owners, we make hundreds of daily decisions, big and small. The decisions offer us nearly endless opportunities to either grow or stagnate (or worse). Growth requires us to be nimble and to recognize key points to pivot our business practices and work smarter. Mastering our pivot points is a key to success.

So our first pivot point focuses on Black Dress Circle’s February theme —  delegation. We looked at:

Let’s take a deeper look at these insights:

You can do anything, but not everything

Barriers to Delegation

There are seven common reasons why we often don’t delegate (or don’t delegate well), and three of them in particular generated quite a lively discussion in our February Circles. Those three:

  • Fear of losing control
  • Perception of  “I can do it better”
  • Low confidence in team

What became very clear in all Circle discussions was a common undercurrent of need for staff training to be able to work around these barriers. We know that once training issues have been addressed, if confidence in delegating doesn’t shift northward, then it’s a strong signal to shift and re-evaluate team member fit.

Note: That doesn’t mean you have to drop everything immediately and train in all areas you’re not confident in releasing control of. Pick a small recurring task/project, block out a suitable amount of time with you and your team member, download everything you know to them about that task/project, and brainstorm together on how to make the process more efficient, and what kind of feedback loop to create (and put it all in writing! That way it’s documented for their reference, and/or for a future team member’s reference). More details on this in our Delegation Checklist. It may pain you two spend an hour or two hour diving into such detail this week, but it’ll save you hours upon hours upon hours upon hours of work in the future, and will start paving the way for even more delegation.


Five Levels of Delegation

When the Circles took an in-depth look at the five levels of delegation (want to know more about this? Tell us!), we talked about the criticality of being clear about your planned level of involvement when you delegate. Setting expectations, not allowing ‘black holes’ in communication to develop, and effective project management are key.


Great things in business are done by a team of people

Delegation Checklist

Using a Delegation Checklist is one of the most effective ways to ensure you have your thoughts sorted and are covering all bases when delegating projects. While you may not want to, or be able to, dive into such detail on every item you delegate, the two most critical points from this delegation checklist include:

  1. Clarifying how the task being delegated fits with other priorities and assignments (skipping this is a common and often serious misstep). Share why the work matters by putting it into context–this enables team members to understand more, add more value and avoid working blindly.
  2. Being sure to request feedback and/or progress updates at identified points in the project process.


My challenge for you:

What might serve as your business’ pivot point for expansion in becoming a more willing and effective delegator? What will you shift?  You can start here:

  •    Identify what you most need to delegate
  •    Identify to whom you can delegate
  •    Determine if you are willing to devote staff training time to remove barriers

In your challenges, remember that small changes over time add up to big change and steady growth.


Erin Joy