When it comes to delegating, the very word itself can evoke thoughts of endless to-do lists, the headaches of hiring and training new talent, and the concern that they’ll never do it as well as you.Financial advisors from enterprise to solo practitioners are faced with an increasingly complex environment and the myriad of important tasks that come with it. Client communications, office administration, digital marketing, technology and cybersecurity, real estate management, cash flow analysis and payroll – the list is never ending.

In fact, our 2021 Advisor Survey of more than 1,200 advisors said the top three concerns were client service and workload, marketing to new prospects, and implementing technology. Here's the rub, how business operations and big picture strategy are handled – and who handles it – requires a mindset shift to move forward effectively.

“Holding tight to the belief you can manage it all? Expect a whirlwind of diminishing returns.”

- Entrepreneur Magazine

Merriam-Webster defines delegating as “entrusting to another.” The key word here is trust, which is precisely where the mindset shift comes from. Trusting someone else with tasks you might be doing yourself – or partnering with an expert to help you move your business forward strategically – is often the biggest hurdle to delegating. A recent article in the Harvard Business Review, appropriately titled “Why Aren’t You Delegating?” identifies that tendency to think we can go it alone as “self-enhancement bias.”

Apparently, it's a trait even the most aware and dialed-in business owner might not be aware of. “Accepting that you can’t do everything yourself is a critical first step to delegating,” the article goes on to say – and I couldn’t agree more. This initial mindset shift – recognizing that you can’t do all things; that you aren’t the expert across every domain – is crucial to shifting your business forward. Why? Because thoughtful delegation is the key step in increasing your impact – impact with your clients, your family, and your community. Once the space has been created, you get to choose how to fill it.

Entrepreneur magazine spells out the downfalls of going it alone directly, “Holding tight to the belief you can manage it all? Expect a whirlwind of diminishing returns,” the article states. The second part of the mindset shift needed to be an effective delegator is taking stock of things as they are right now. What do you love to do? What do you feel inspired and energized about? What do you dread? The parts of the business where your skills aren’t a match are places where your diminishing returns happen. For most advisors, their best ROI is where their biggest passion lies. Helping clients, growing their business, and living a life of significance are areas where I see advisors getting enthusiastic about making an impact every day.

The last ingredient of this recipe is treating delegation as your friend. This one is critical. You don’t have to do it. You get to do it. Regarding delegation as a friend who’s got your back is an entirely different mindset than farming out to-do list tasks. Those you delegate to should be partners in your business; ones who stand alongside you in support, with equal excitement about strategic and everyday wins. The best partners don’t see the task as an activity to complete. They see it as a step toward achieving a shared outcome.

Once you’ve made these initial mental shifts, delegation becomes much easier, pursuit of your passions becomes possible, and life becomes just a little bit better. It’s all about partnering with people whose capabilities you trust; who are just as committed to your business as you are.

Matt Enyedi

by Matt Enyedi

Matt Enyedi, Managing Director, LPL Financial

LPL 2021 Advisor Survey: Survey Results: A Deep Dive into Your 2021 Goals 
Harvard Business Review, “Why Aren’t You Delegating?,” by Amy Gallo, July 2021
Entrepreneur Magazine, “Even Steve Jobs Knew When to Let Go of Tasks -- Now It's Your Turn,” by Sara Karakian, September 2018