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The ABC Delegation System

Delegation can save advisors a lot of time and empower other team members. Here’s an easy method one advisor recommends.

When advisors identify high-priority items that need their attention on a daily basis, they should also then determine what they need to stop doing. Typically when one concentrates their energy on important issues, they need to free up time to give these high priority items their attentions and effort.

At a recent affluent marketing symposium, one advisor shared a brilliant best practice for delegating tasks to others in her firm.

“We struggled with this until we developed an ABC delegation system,” she said. “Ever since, it’s worked beautifully and the delegation issue is well behind us.”

Tasks and projects to be delegated were labeled “A” for autonomous, “B” for briefing and “C” for conversation. Once a task or project is assigned a category, it’s then handled accordingly. Here’s how it works:

A – Autonomous:  This task can be freely completed with no follow-up necessary. 

These are routine tasks or assignments that can be handled easily by the individual to whom they are delegated. At times they are so routine that there’s a tendency for an advisor who is delegation-challenged to do them personally. However, these routine tasks add up and absorb valuable time. “A” tasks don’t lessen their importance, but are so routine, they should be easily handled and don’t require follow-up.

B – Briefing:  After completing the task, brief me on the outcome.

These are somewhat larger in scope than the autonomous tasks. Many of these tasks are those that are time-sensitive, therefore requiring communication when they’ve been completed. They aren’t necessarily overly complex, but there are a few more steps involved, and they need to be completed within a specific timeline. These can run the gamut from transferring funds to updating cell phone numbers in the CRM. “B” tasks require circling back (briefing) to the delegator upon completion.

C – Conversation:  Before starting the task, we need to discuss the details.

These are the more complex tasks. They have more moving parts, some of which are out of the control of the individual responsible. This is the arena of delegation that pulls a lot of advisors outside their comfort zones. In fact, many advisors simply don’t delegate these complex conversation tasks/projects. But if they do, they can save a lot of time and empower other team members.

Some conversation tasks and projects are more involved than others. These will require instruction and guidance throughout the implementation process.

“C” task/projects can include following-up on a top client problem that requires home-office involvement, handling the logistics for an intimate social event, preparing materials for a review meeting with a top client, creating a PowerPoint presentation for a CPA showcase, or preparing a financial plan for an affluent prospect.

Although all “C” tasks require a conversation beforehand, the level of guidance throughout will depend upon the complexity. A progress report and conversation when completed are typically necessary.

Matt Oechsli is author of Building a Successful 21st Century Financial Practice: Attracting, Servicing & Retaining Affluent

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