Delegate and Elevate: How EOS Helps Small Business Owners Increase Efficiency

Delegate and Elevate: How EOS Helps Small Business Owners Increase Efficiency


For most small business owners, CEO’s, and leadership team members a 50 – 60 hour work week is something that has long since been normalized. According to a survey done by The Alternative Board something like 82% of small business owners are working 40+ hours, with 19% falling in the 60+ range. Why? Because they don’t Delegate and Elevate.

I’m sure there are a few people out there who really enjoy working 60+ hours in a week, but for the rests of us, that kind of commitment is unsustainable. As tasks pile up, we get stretched thin, we stop giving the individual tasks the attention they need, and our quality of work slips. That’s when companies start to struggle or, in a best case scenario, hit a seemingly impassible ceiling.

It doesn’t have to be like that, though. You can bring your small business Traction, and you can start by asking…


Am I Delegating Effectively?

It’s a deceptively difficult question. Every manager out there thinks they are delegating correctly. They take care of the tasks they see as being so crucial that the only person they trust to handle them is themselves. The problem is that as businesses grow, so too do the tasks. In a startup one person can handle every single to-do. As that startup grows  the owner finds themselves holding on to more and more responsibilities. They know they can’t do it all, but they aren’t ready to let go of anything. That’s why, according to the late professor John Hunt of London Business School…


Only 30% Of Managers Delegate Effectively

This means that only about 30% have been able to find a sweet spot in which they can do all of the work that they are best at without having to cover tasks that someone else could easily handle. Those 30% didn’t get there by accident either. They intentionally worked towards this situation by learning to Delegate and Elevate.

How Can You Reach That Level?

Step 1: Define your 100%

Some people can work 70 hours. Some really only have the energy for 40. Heck, some of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world only work 30. How can they succeed like that? Simply put, they know their 100% and they fill it with tasks that are in their sweet spot. Just remember, 100% doesn’t mean 110%. Pushing yourself to work beyond your natural capacity just leads to burnout, stress, and an unhappy work/life balance.

Step 2: List out everything you do in a day

Try to list everything out, including about how long each task takes you. This takes time, but it’s time well spent. How could a small business owner ever expect to delegate the smaller tasks if they don’t have an extensive list of them? Don’t worry, if you forget a few little thing. This list is a living document and no one gets everything in the first pass. Just be sure to get all of the big stuff this first time.

Step 3: Download the Delegate and Elevate Tool from the EOS Toolbox.

This very simple tool will help you start organizing your daily tasks in a way that helps you identify exactly what is and isn’t in your sweet spot. Don’t worry. It’s free and has zero obligation attached to it.

Step 4: Move the tasks from you list to the Delegate and Elevate Tool

The tool is split into 4 quadrants:

  • 1) Love / Great: Move the tasks that you love doing and are great at to this quadrant. These are the things that inspired you to join this industry in the first place. For me it’s standing in front of a group of small business owners and helping them to understand the Entrepreneurial Operating System. The joy of teaching and knowing that these business owners are going to have a much easier time succeeding is the entire reason I do what I do.


  • 2) Like/ Good: This quadrant is filled with the tasks that you still enjoy doing and you know you can handle. This could be something as simple as running the budget or doing the client interviews.


  • 3) Don’t Like/ Good: This is when things get rough. This column is where you need to start identifying those tasks that you may not enjoy, but you know that you can handle them, probably better than anyone else at your organization. Putting a task in this box is no fun, but there’s good news on the horizon in step 5.


  • 4) Don’t Like / Not Good: This should be the easiest box to fill up. If you’re handling a task that you know would be better off in someone else’s hands, it goes here. Don’t hold on to it or convince yourself you can handle it. It isn’t doing anyone in the business any good for you to do this and, you never know, someone else might actually want to take this task over.

Step 5: Delegate and Elevate

By now you should know your capacity, how much you can honestly work and still feel good at the end of the day. You should also have a list of all the tasks you do in a day and how much time each takes. If you’re over capacity, it’s time to hand things off.

Start with quadrant 4.

No brainer, right? Start getting rid of the things you don’t like doing, especially the ones you aren’t good at. These are the real time killers since, when we don’t like a task, we don’t do it efficiently. Once you’ve identified the task you need to get rid of, choose someone you trust to take care of it for you.

Start small.

For everyone’s sake. I don’t have to be a small business consultant to know that, if you handed off half of your daily tasks to employees tomorrow, they’d have no idea how to handle the sudden change and you wouldn’t be able to sleep a wink.

So, start small. Hand off something minor, something that seems like a drop in the bucket. But, remember: buckets are made up of drops. Take enough drops out, and the bucket is empty.

Trust your team

Your company can’t grow, if you are trying to take on too much at once. They need you to be a small business owner and a small business leader. Trust them to keep the lights on so you can lead the organization into greatness.

EOS Consultation Call, 90 minute meeting

Need More Help?


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Whittle & Partners is a consulting group that provides EOS™ Implementation in the United States and beyond. We offer in-person and online solutions to fit your business and schedule.Visit our about us page to learn how and why we love bringing Dallas Traction.

Jeff Whittle is a Certified Dallas EOS Implementer.


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