For any event planner—even the most experienced ones—the thought of organizing three events in three different cities, all held on the same day, probably sounds incredibly daunting and chaotic. But for myself and my team at Randi Events, it’s just another day in the nonstop music industry and another opportunity for us to rise to meet a new challenge.
To promote his new album, Life Changes, Thomas Rhett and his record label, Big Machine Label Group, decided to host listening parties in Boston, Philadelphia, and Chicago on the day of his album release. When they contacted Randi Events to execute the plan, we were all excited about the opportunity to take our expertise to three different cities and plan events that Thomas Rhett and the label would be proud of. Additionally, I took pride in knowing that I could safely delegate many of the tasks to my team.
But I wasn’t always so comfortable sharing the load.
Delegation: The Not-So-Secret Sauce Behind Any Successful Business
If you’re planning to start your own business, in any industry, you must understand that you’ll never be able to do everything yourself. And if you’ve already been in business for any length of time, you already know this.
Delegating is key in all business deals. By delegating, you empower your immediate team member to delegate to their team members. You then have an entire network of people, with an aligned vision, working together to achieve the same goal.
But if you don’t learn to delegate, you become overworked and you burn out. Meanwhile, your work will suffer because of your inability to focus on the details in your business. You’ll be focused on staying afloat instead of excelling and going above and beyond your client’s expectations. The growth of your business will suffer and, eventually, cease.
My breast cancer diagnosis was a turning point in my career. Once I told my family members and adjusted to my new health reality, my immediate concern was my business. Up to that point, I involved in every single aspect of Randi Events, from booking clients, to rolling tables and placing centerpieces at the actual events.
Having cancer forced me to take a step back and learn to really trust in my staff, and I can honestly say that if I hadn’t gotten cancer, I would still have a hard time delegating. But when I was going through one of the most difficult times of my life, wondering if I would ever be healthy again or be around to meet my grandchildren, my staff stepped up. They told me to focus on myself and to let them worry about the business. And I listened.
While I was going through treatment, my staff did all of the planning and designing for each event. The only area I retained control was the accounting. I obviously didn’t have much of a choice in this—I had seven three-week rounds of chemo, so there was no way I could physically be present for much of the work—but I was pleasantly surprised to see that nothing fell apart in my absence. In fact, the business was doing better than ever.
The Art of Delegating
With the help of my husband, I built Randi Events from the ground up, so it was always hard for me to entrust certain aspects of the business to other people. And that’s a perfectly normal feeling that most entrepreneurs experience. If you’re an entrepreneur, “Nobody can do it like I can,” and “I don’t have time to teach someone, so I might as well do it myself” are two statements that you will likely hear yourself sat over and over again. But the best business leaders know that delegation in a skill they must master. Their success depends on it.
And the best part about delegating is that, once you learn how, you can equip your other team members to become better delegators and then watch your business achieve things that you never thought possible.
Early in my career, I would have loved to have someone tell me the benefits of delegating. I enjoyed being involved in all of the events, but I also knew that my involvement was slowing us down. Now, by empowering my staff, we are able to achieve what most people deem impossible—like planning three events in three cities on the same day.
So how did we do it?
I sent three of my designers to each of the cities to plan and execute each concert. The trust I have built with my clients over the years helped them to feel comfortable that if anyone could pull off such an ambitious series of events, it would be my company. I also communicated with the owner of the record label as well as my staff to make sure the activation was executed and completed successfully. My staff then reached out to the venues for floor plans and designed the entire event based on what the venues sent them. The three concerts were executed seamlessly, and I couldn’t be prouder of my team.
Again, our success with the Thomas Rhett events wouldn’t have been possible without delegation. So for those of you struggling with delegating, I have five rules that I live by that will help you feel comfortable delegating as well.
1.Hire the right staff.
You’re obviously not going to trust your staff to execute in your absence if you feel like you haven’t hired the best people for the job. At Randi Events, we try to hire the right staff for each position in our company, and we have a very lengthy interview process to help ensure this happens each time we have an opening.
We receive hundreds of resumes every year, so after we weed through those, we schedule first interviews to get a basic understanding of their background and experience to see if they can handle the day-to-day responsibilities of the job. After a candidate has completed the first round of interviews, we then send a questionnaire or sample task based on the job they are applying for. And because we are a close team, it is important that we have buy-in from all senior staff before we proceed through subsequent rounds of the interview process.
Finally, we require that all candidates take a test that determines whether they are an Earth, Wind, Water or Fire personality. I am a double fire, so this test is important in determining how well the individual will get along with me and the rest of the staff. The ultimate hiring decision is made by me, so I meet with every potential candidate. And even if an individual isn’t the most qualified for the position, I always hire them if I can sense something special about them that will turn them into a star eventually.
2. Trust your gut.
Trusting your gut is important in every aspect of your business, but it is critical when you’re trying to build the right team. If my intuition is telling me that a potential candidate is right for the job, I have to trust myself. Likewise, if a candidate is perfect on paper, but I don’t feel right about them, I say no every time. And I can proudly say that I’ve built a very successful business trusting my gut in this way.
3.Delegate small tasks first
Before delegating anything major to a team member, you want to make sure you’ve given them small tasks to start. Empowerment leads to trust, so you must be able to hand over certain responsibilities to your staff if you’re ever going to learn to trust them completely. But it wouldn’t be smart to trust them with a large or important task if they’ve yet to prove their competency. Give staff members the chance to fail on something of minimal importance so that you can identify any mistakes or errors in judgement, ensuring they won’t happen again with bigger responsibilities at stake.
4.Identify when you need help.
If you feel like you’re need help or that you’re “drowning,” this is the first sign that you need to delegate to your team. Drowning in your company and responsibilities can cause you to burn out. Fast. (You should also always be on the lookout for other team members who may be struggling under the weight of their responsibilities.) It’s naturally hard for entrepreneurs to ask for help, so the first time you feel that you should is a clear indication that you need to empower your staff to make bigger decisions and delegate more work to them. You’ve hired them for a reason—use them.
5.Identify your staff’s passion
When you take time to identify the areas of your business that each of your staff members love the most and are best at doing, you can feel more confident that they will more effectively execute those tasks. Everyone has strengths, and leveraging the strengths of your team members will keep from growing frustrated or burning out, and it will also make your company better than ever.