Don't Just Delegate the Task...Delegate the Choice for Completing the Task
This weekend, the local chapter of my sorority hosted our 11th annual golf fundraiser. I was torn between golfing or not golfing, but the rain, high winds and 47° temperatures helped me make up my mind. So instead of golfing, I decided to stay inside the clubhouse and sell raffle tickets to the golfers.
While I was busy talking, I noticed that some of our other members had already started selling tickets to the golfers who had walked in. So I told the sister I was talking to that we needed to start selling our tickets. We were kind of at a disadvantage because the other ticket sellers were standing near the check in table, and at the tables with all of the prizes. We needed to be strategic here, if we were going to sell any tickets at all. So since the golfers were coming in through the pro shop, we decided to stand outside of the pro shop, where we could meet and greet them just before they entered the clubhouse to check in.
Our strategy was to greet the golfers and make them aware that when they were ready to purchase, they should come back to us to get their raffle tickets. Every golfer was greeted with a hug and a smile. They seemed to appreciate the hugs. So it didn’t take us long before we figured out that if we sold hugs, and gave away tickets instead, we could actually make some money. And that’s how our hustle was born.
After giving the golfers a hug we then gave them our sales pitch…that they had just received a free hug, but they could also buy a $40 hug and get free raffle tickets. We also made it clear that there were other members inside with tickets, but if they purchased from them, they were just buying tickets. Of course we got all kinds of responses, with the best one being, “Ohhhhh, you are good.” And hey, it worked because between the two of us, we managed to sell $400 worth of tickets in about an hour.
Kathy and I knew we had to figure out a different way to sell our tickets because we did not have the competitive advantage. We were neither positioned correctly, nor were we focused…initially. So it was either be innovative, or return empty-handed, and returning empty-handed wasn't an option.
After we were found out, one of our leaders called us crazy and laughed at us, while another playfully scolded us. She had heard about the strategy before she knew who was involved, and when she learned who was involved, she wasn’t surprised at all. If anyone was going to come up with such a scheme, it would be the two of us. She found it pure hilarity.
At the end of the day, raffle tickets needed to be sold. And the task of selling those tickets had been delegated to Kathy and me. Once delegated, we were left to our own devices to get it done, with no one micromanaging our process. Left alone, she and I came up with a plan (that wasn’t illegal…we checked) and made it happen.
What is the point of my rehashing my fun-filled Saturday? The point is, leaders ought to be afraid. Be very very afraid. No, really. Leaders should not be afraid to not only delegate the task, but to also delegate the choice for how the task gets completed. Don’t regulate how it has to be done. Don’t squash the creativity of your employees because that’s not how you would do it. You might be surprised what they come up with. And they just might have fun while doing it.