Improve Your Grip By Letting Go…

Entrepreneur and businessman Jack Miller, who now owns a large and successful US stationery company, explains how he improved his grip on his company by simply "letting go".

"I do only those things that ONLY I can do"

That's a sign I had on my desk for a number of years. It is, believe me, a very, very tough rule to follow. But the more I am able to follow it, the more I am in overall control of the company.

Having started the company from scratch and moved through every part of the operation - selling, buying, picking and packing the orders, writing letters, answering phones, depositing the banking and so on - it was always tough "letting go" as we grew over the years.

Long, long after I should have, I was still personally writing too many letters, paying the suppliers and banking the checks. Now I have delegated almost everything and in every area of the operation there are now people who can do their job - jobs I used to do - better than I can. It may seem strange, but now I have better overall control than I ever did before. I can see the wider picture, because I have time to and I make better strategic decisions because I'm thinking about the broad view rather than concerning myself with the detail.

I've been giving a lot of thought to all this lately. I've thought of my father-in-law who, with his brother, ran a small grocery store during the beginning of the supermarket era. They could never bring themselves to trust anyone else enough to "give them the key to the shop". So, they always remained small, eventually selling out because they couldn't compete.

It happens a lot. I think one of the toughest things for an entrepreneur(and professional man managers) to do is to make the transition from doing everything themselves to "doing only those things that ONLY I can do" and leaving the others to people who can do them as well or better. But once that transition begins to be made, how much better the jobs all get done and how much pressure is removed. What's most amazing is how much more everyone enjoys what they are doing, because they are trusted to get on with it and given real responsibility.

I recommend it for everyone in business. But from experience, I can tell you it is not any easy transition. That's why I still keep that sign around my desk.