The organization was growing and it seemed his to-do list was growing with it. Sound familiar?

It seems like running at full capacity is the trend these days. Nothing wrong with working hard, but there comes a point in which spinning too many plates brings unwanted consequences for you and your organization.

Here’s a true story of how one leader figured out what he shouldn’t be doing and built a team that enabled him to maximize his contribution to the organization.

The leader’s name is Josh.

After a year or so in the organization Josh was feeling stressed out and over-capacity in his responsibilities.

Josh went to his boss and shared his struggle. Thankfully, his boss was in agreement with his evaluation and told Josh to craft a job description that could be used to create a paid internship program.

At first this excited Josh, but as he sat down to create the description he soon realized how little clarity he had about the things he was doing in his role. How would he know what roles to delegate and what roles to keep if he didn’t have a grasp of all he was doing?


“How would he know what roles to delegate and what roles to keep if he didn’t have a grasp of all he was doing?”


So instead of starting with the Ministry Ventures job description template, he started with a blank sheet of paper. For the first time since he started working with the organization he was going to map out in visual form all the areas of responsibility he shouldered.

An Empty Chair


Josh's-Chair


He started by drawing a chair in the center of the blank sheet of paper and then wrote his name underneath. This represented his seat within the organization.

From there he began drawing lines outward to his main areas of responsibility. This was his list:

  1. Programs

  2. Finance

  3. Donor Care

  4. Marketing

  5. Administration/Support

One area that was not on his list was HR. In fact, this ended up at the bottom of his paper with a large slash through it signaling his desire to stay as far away from this area as possible. Thankfully, other members of the team were willing and able to shoulder this important area of an organization…but it wasn’t Josh.

Empty Your Cup

After defining the main groupings, Josh began emptying his responsibility cup in great detail until he exhausted every last drop. As one came to mind he would figure out what grouping it should nest under and drew a line connecting the two. Sometimes he was able to create smaller groupings of connected activities and further bundle responsibilities together. Here was the finished product:


Josh's Responsibility Map


After spending an hour or so getting this on paper something strange and wonderful began to happen. Josh started feeling less stressed out and even hopeful about the future.


“After spending an hour or so getting this on paper something strange and wonderful began to happen.”


There was no longer a haze around what he was doing for the organization. Now it was clearly defined, which enabled him to do the next most important step.

Time to Delegate

Now that Josh could see every one of his responsibilities in one quick glance it was time to delegate. The key question to ask at this point in the process is which activities did Josh contribute the highest good to the organization? Another way to say it would be, where did Josh add unique value that would be difficult to find a replacement for?


“The key question to ask at this point in the process is which activities did Josh contribute the highest good to the organization?”


These should be evident. Josh probably enjoyed doing them and others probably recognized his excellence. He was able to start making a list of duties and responsibilities for a future hire by simply looking at his responsibility map and choosing those that weren’t his highest good for the organization.

This process made creating the job description a breeze. Simply draw a line through the responsibility on the map and then add it to the list. Turns out responsibilities related to the program grouping made up the bulk of the activities that Josh felt he could delegate. Here’s how he listed the responsibility percentages on the final job description:

  • Program Support 60%

  • General Admin 20%

  • Marketing 20%

Here are some of the job descriptions he eventually listed under the program support area:

  • Keeping accurate lists of client data using Salesforce and other software

  • Timely and professional communication of upcoming events and deadlines to participants

  • Reviewing and storing client deliverables for certification

  • Providing detailed feedback of program status to participants and coaches

  • On-boarding new clients according to established processes

  • Awarding certification deliverables to clients who complete the Ministry Mastery certification checklist

  • Storage and retrieval of Ministry Ventures content for clients and coaches

  • Creating and updating events and member resource library on our website

  • Ordering program resources upon request for clients, coaches and marketing dept.

These were things that Josh knew he didn’t need to be spending a majority of his time on and he could easily train someone else to take over.

Another benefit of this level of clarity and detail is that it creates a well-defined training path for the new team members. Josh was able to click through the list of detailed responsibilities for his on-boarding program.

Building The Team

After sharing the final job description with the organization’s network it wasn’t long until he had some great leads. His boss insisted he interview more than one person, but it turned out that the first person who applied ended up being a great fit. This program started in 2013 and has continued to the present day with an additional team member being added to assist with needs related to both program and finance.

It seems that moments of pain and frustration can be catalytic to healthy change.


“It seems that moments of pain and frustration can be catalytic to healthy change.”


For Josh, it was the pain of feeling overloaded with growing responsibilities that led to the healthy change of delegation and team building.

One person can’t and shouldn’t do it all. If you’re feeling things are getting out of control and over-capacity then maybe it’s time to grab a blank sheet of paper and draw your chair. Josh did and he’s really glad about it. How do I know? Well, because I’m Josh. And I know I would never have had time to write this article had I not sat down a few years back to engage in this process of healthy change.

Summary

To recap the process of delegating, building a team and being less stressed:

  1. Make a detailed list of your current responsibilities

  2. Decide which activities can be delegated and which you should own

  3. Create a job description and farm it out to your network

  4. Hire and train

  5. Enjoy the increased productivity!

I hope this leads to increased productivity and less stress for you in the days ahead!

For the team,

Josh-headshot-80x80-BW

Josh Randolph
VP Operations & Marketing
Ministry Ventures

P.S. Let me know if this is helpful or if you have any other ideas for being less stressed and more productive

P.P.S. To hear me tell this story check out the video below. It’s from a recent coaching session.


How to Delegate, Build A Team and Be Less Stressed


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