Michael R. Morris
Those of us who feel like we're pretty good at our jobs tend to subscribe to the theory that if you want something done right, you've got to do it yourself. We are commonly known as workaholics.
Then there are the smart folks who hire good people, train them well and delegate important duties to them. If you're a member of the former group and would like to get control of your hectic life as well as continue to succeed in business, I suggest you read a couple of articles in this month's issue.
I would start by reading about the growth strategy of our 2007 Remodeler of the Year, Normandy Builders. Normandy, a wildly successful Chicago remodeling firm, got that way because the company's founders, Jack Steindl and Reg Marzec, carried the load for most of the last 28 years themselves.
As the company grew, however, they realized they needed to delegate some of what they had personally attended to from the beginning to others. This not only allowed them to leave behind the crazy 70-hour work weeks that many young entrepreneurs carry; it also allowed their company to grow and prosper to the point that they were, frankly, an easy choice to receive this year's honor.
"Bringing Dan (Schoendorff) and Laurie (Camp) aboard have been very important," Steindl says of Normandy's new sales director and marketing director. "They are approaching their roles in a much more professional way than we ever did. Laurie knows her way around after working at an advertising agency, and the fact that she's focusing on it every day, rather than when we would treat (marketing) as a side, side, side issue, makes a big difference.
"Every day she's thinking of new ads, new concepts and going over the bills, and that was one of my duties in the past. I probably didn't spend two hours a week on it, so there's a great big difference in how much time is being spent on that stuff. Our lead count is up, thanks to Laurie, and our closing ratio, which I give Dan credit for, is going down. And those are two nice things right there."
Founded in 1979, Normandy is a great example of a mature remodeling firm that has benefitted from delegation. This month's Remodelers' Exchange features two relatively young remodelers whose organizations are improving thanks to their willingness and ability to coach their employees and delegate responsibilities.
"In 2004 and 2005, I was the project manager/bookkeeper/plumber/salesperson/carpenter," says Greg Rittler, owner of Kanon Group in Towson, Md. "You name it, and I did it. I was really pulling my hair out."
If this sounds at all like you, maybe your New Year's resolution should be to start delegating in 2008.