Proper Delegation for CEOs

March 11, 2024

As a CEO, Exec, or Leader, learn to effectively delegate anything that isn't the highest value of your time. You'll be given a rubric to use on how to score your tasks, and how to communicate well with your EA so they can really maximize your time.

👉 Make sure you download and save your FREE "Order of Delegation" Rubric below for you and your EA to use! 👈

Proper Delegation for CEOs

One of the most important parts of working with an assistant is knowing how to properly delegate.

There’s been a lot of literature written on Energy Audits already that you can find both through Conscious Leadership Group and Mochary Method. Those resources are very good, and focus on how to figure out what things you like and don’t like doing, so I won’t repeat that here.

For this write-up, I’ll focus on figuring out which things to delegate (things you know have to get done, but you don’t have to do them yourself), and how to delegate effectively.

This write-up assumes you already know that for anything you don’t like doing, you should try to figure out how you can eliminate it or delegate it to someone who does like doing it. If you don't know, please start with an Energy Audit and go from there. Otherwise, continue reading.

Delegation Buckets

To delegate effectively, there are three buckets you should sort your items into:

  • Repeatability versus One-off items
  • High difficulty versus Low difficulty
  • High impact versus Low impact

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Repeatability versus One-Off

Determine whether this is a recurring task or not.

  • If it is, it scores 1 point as something you should likely delegate.
  • If it’s not, move onto the next bucket regarding difficulty.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

High difficulty versus Low difficulty

High Difficulty

If the task is either difficult or complex (ie: more than 3-5 steps), ask yourself whether it’s worth the ROI in training your EA to do it (yes, you have to train them how to do it!)

It’s probably worth the ROI if it’s a repeatable task: train them once, then have them do it forever. That scores an additional 1 point towards delegation.

Here are reasons it wouldn’t be worth the ROI. 👇

  • it’s very complex (too many steps; inevitably something may go wrong)
  • it’s too risky if something goes wrong (it isn’t easy to repair the mistake)
  • it’s a one-off task (you spend all this time training them, only for them to never have to do it ever again)

Don’t delegate those kinds of tasks to your EA. ☝️

Instead, do it yourself, or if you hate doing it, delegate it to another trusted member on your team who is capable of doing a more complex task.

Low Difficulty

If it’s an easy task to do, of course, it scores another 1 point towards delegation.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

High impact versus Low impact

Is this task going to move your business forward or not? Or, will it make your life measurably better?

If it will, it’s considered high impact. Delegate these items first - they add additional ROI to your training. This should get 2 points.

If it won’t move your business forward or make your life measurably better, that means it’s low-impact. No points here.

Low impact doesn’t mean don’t delegate them. Remember how we said in the beginning: “Delegate the things you know have to get done, but you don’t have to do them yourself”?

We’re assuming you want to delegate these tasks. Do delegate them. Just don’t rank them as high-priority.

Delegate the high-impact stuff first. Delegate the low-impact stuff after.

Order of Delegation

You have your buckets answered and your points tallied up, take a look at the results. You should have something like this filled out (either actually written down, or mentally. Mentally is fine. I usually do mine using mental calculations.)

Here's a cheat sheet you can use to mentally figure out if you should delegate it or not. Cause your EA to use this if it's too much for you to remember - but if you can remember it yourself, you'll be even more effective.

Feel free to save the high-resolution version of this rubric for you and your EA to use.

The highest score you can give a task is 4. (This is because the second two columns, “difficult to do” and “easy to delegate,” are either-or’s.)

If a task gets a 4, put it at the top of your list. It means it’s repeatable, has high ROI or is easy to delegate, and is high impact.

Delegate all your 4-point tasks first. It will make your life remarkably better.

From there, prioritize delegating stuff that is high-impact. I would use that as the first deal breaker.

Here’s a rough framework on how I would delegate:

  1. Is high impact, easy to delegate, and repeatable task 👈 spend all your time here first
  1. Is high impact, difficult to delegate but high ROI, and repeatable (these tasks are worth the time investment into your EA, again because they’re repeatable.)
  1. Is high impact, doesn’t come with a high ROI/isn’t the easiest to delegate, but it’s repeatable (these tasks will save you time and headache in the long run.)
  1. Is low impact and repeatable (these are things that will save you even more time, since your EA will take care of the low impact stuff and can save your time to spend towards high-impact stuff.)
  1. Everything else.

How to Delegate

Train, Train, Train

You have to train your EA on how to do the task. Please provide them step by step instructions, preferably with you doing the task once and them observing.

I usually record myself doing the tasks using Loom and share my screen, so they can see exactly what is happening. I also talk out loud about what I’m doing.

Here's a screenshot of my Loom folder dedicated specifically for my Assistants. They come here to see any video instructions on how to get things done. I recommend recording these once, and then telling future Assistants to reference the folder. This will save you an insane amount of legwork in the future.

That’s all it has to be. It’s that simple.

If you don’t feel like doing even that, have your EA co-work with you for the first two weeks of onboarding. You should work together over Zoom so you can share your screen, and he or she can ask you questions as you’re working. Their first task can be learning how you operate and documenting all the things they’ll need to do.

If you go this method, do make sure you’re saying, “I’d like you to take over this task for me eventually.” That way, they write everything down in their SOPs and pay special attention, asking you more questions.

They can figure out the step-by-step instructions and document it. That’s their job, and they’re good at it. You’re likely not as good at this, and more importantly, you don’t like doing it. Let them do it.

Store these videos into a folder. I have a folder on Loom called “EA How-To’s” and I hashtag all the videos #ForEA so they can search for it easily. (See screenshot above.)

They’ll take care of storing the rest in your personal database (your Personal Atlas, if you’re using Atlas Assistants.)

Communicate Clearly

Tell them…

  1. What the task is
  2. Why is it important
  3. When you need it by
  4. How urgent or important it is (or whether it’s a nice-to-have)
  5. Instructions on how to do it - Loom video (this is so important, don’t skip this step!)

I usually share this with my EA through our shared Slack space (where I add a subject of what I need and then thread in further context.)

You can either write it out, or record a voice memo directly into Slack. This is totally fine. Slack will transcribe it and your EA can read it.

Your EA will then confirm they’ve received the task and show you they’re tracking it in their task tracker.

Provide Feedback

See this write-up on Feedback here.

Your EA will not do all tasks perfectly the first time around. If you expect perfection from Day One with zero balls dropped, you will be sorely disappointed.

Your job is to foster an environment where they learn how to balance speed and accuracy. Part of that means showing them when it’s OK to make a mistake.

The rule of thumb I use is, just don’t make the same mistake twice. Otherwise, if they make an error, I simply correct it and explain why they shouldn’t make that mistake. Then, I ask them to tell me what they’re going to do in the future to prevent that mistake from happening again. And finally, we move on.

In summary:

  1. Offer praise on what they did well on in a task.
    (Don’t skip this part. Praise helps them understand what you like and what you dislike. It will translate across many different tasks.)

  2. Tell them what their mistake was. Explain what the consequences are in that mistake.

  3. Ask them to repeat it back to you so that you make sure they really understand you. Offer clarifications if there are any misunderstandings in how they understand your correction for them.

  4. Ask them what they intend to do moving forward, both in this task or in all tasks moving forward (if it’s applicable in a broader context.)

Example Scenario

Let’s say you ask your EA to help you complete the first draft of your weekly newsletter to send out to your subscribers, or an internal memo you send out to your entire company.

  1. You inform your EA what the task is.
    “Hello ___, please help me prepare the first draft of our weekly newsletter.” OR, “Hello ____, please help me prepare the first draft of our internal weekly memo.”
  2. You tell them how important + urgent the task is.
    “This is important because it’s the #1 way I stay in touch with my subscribers/it’s the #1 way I inform the entire company what’s going on. Therefore, I want this to be ranked both urgent and important.”

  3. You share the deadline you’d like from them and where to prioritize in relation to the rest of your EA’s tasks.
    “Since I want time to proofread your draft and make edits before we send it out, I’d like this done by EOD tomorrow. Please prioritize this above X and Y tasks.”

  4. You provide them with clear instructions by recording a Loom video explaining how to draft it. You show them where you store your current templates (or ask them to make and save one if you don’t have one already.)
    “Here’s a Loom video on how to do it. Also, please take a look in the Archive for versions of previous newsletters / memos so you have a general idea of formatting. There might be a template saved already; use that if you find it and make any updates you think are applicable to the format.”

→ Your EA returns with the first draft ready the next day, as promised. You go through it and mark it up.

  1. You give them feedback on their task.
    “Thanks for doing this ___, I can see you understand how important this is.
    I’d like to offer you a few corrections: in the future, please be more consistent on the formatting headers - I saw a few of them were marked H3 and some were marked H2, and that can throw off the Table of Contents when we generate them. I’d also like for you to collect more information from me on what content should go in the document. You can do this by asking me if I have an idea of what I’ll include in the newsletter/memo for this week.
    Could you please repeat to me the feedback I just gave you as you understood it?”

  2. They repeat the feedback to you, and you say, “Yes, that’s correct.”

  3. You ask them how they’ll apply this feedback.
    “Now, could you please share with me what you intend to do in the future regarding this task, and in general?” They say something like, “In the future, I’ll ask you for clarification on what you want to write about in your newsletter/memo, and make notes in the first draft so you can remember to write about those things. I’ll also, in general, be more thorough by checking that all the formatting is correct. I’ll make the updates in the template accordingly so it isn’t an issue in the future.”

That's it - you have successfully delegated a task that is high-impact, easy to do, and repeatable. Good luck with all future work delegation - I believe in your ability to collapse time by leveraging your EA to delegate out effectively!

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Regina Gerbeaux

Who’s Regina Gerbeaux?

Regina Gerbeaux (@_rpgbx) is the executive coach to some of the fastest scaling startups in the world. She is also a founder currently interested in the food delivery and logistics space.

Regina was the first person trained by Matt Mochary (executive coach to the CEOs of Coinbase, Brex, and many more) in the Mochary Method Curriculum.

Her tactical templates and operational write-ups have been referenced and used by fast-scaling companies, including BioRender, CoreDB, dYdX, and many more.

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