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Delegating Effectively

Defining your staff’s roles and consistently handing off work to the right person are must-dos for business success. By Gina Pellegrini

By Gina Pellegrini

Each person on your team is there for a particular reason and plays a part in your business’ growth. Moving paperwork through underwriting, scheduling appointments, preparing for appointments, handling administrative details—these tasks must be done regularly and correctly. And the only way the work will get done properly is if you define roles and delegate consistently to the right person.

The best way to define roles is to create written job descriptions for everyone on your team—including yourself. The job description should list an activity, such as scheduling appointments or doing client reviews, and then spell out the specific duties pertaining to that activity. The objective, expectations and accountability for the position should also be stated in writing.

Avoid confusion
Once it is clear who does what, the person responsible for a specific task should always handle that task. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. One of the biggest points of frustration for team members is when an advisor delegates randomly—on the spot—to anyone available. Employees know who should be doing the work but feel uncomfortable turning down the boss’ request. What usually happens? Later, the advisor delegates the same work to the right person, who is unaware that someone else has started it. Now there are two people trapped by random delegation! Frustration increases as productivity decreases.

Roles are defined so the right person does the job. When you give a job to someone who doesn’t have the background or skills for it, it not only takes longer, the system breaks down as well. Delegation should always be targeted.

Letting go
No matter how or when you delegate, the important thing is to let go! Don’t be afraid to relinquish control, because ultimately you and your business will benefit. Appointment scheduling is one task that can be easily delegated, but many advisors resist doing so. I encourage you to let go of this task because a well-trained marketing assistant can fill your calendar consistently with quality appointments.

To illustrate, a client of mine had been a successful advisor for 15 years. He made all of his own appointments, even though it was time-consuming and inefficient. I suggested that he hire a marketing assistant to make these calls. Although he understood the logic of adding more staff, he was concerned that his long-time clients would be offended if someone else called them. I assured him they would support his decision—and they did. In fact, some of his clients called him to compliment his new marketing assistant for her phone skills and professionalism. And, significantly for my client, the number of appointments jumped, from four per week to 15, which was exactly what he wanted.

A similar spike in appointments occurs when an advisor delegates referral calls. This is particularly hard for some advisors, but the payoff is real. Another client felt that referral calls were just too sensitive and important to delegate. I convinced him to let his marketing assistant make the calls, and the results were remarkable. The number of referrals increased, from two referrals per month to nine.

By being in front of nine new people a month, he increased revenues substantially. The moral of the story is that well-defined roles and smart delegation—reinforced by the advisor’s full cooperation—can streamline business and increase productivity.

This is an excerpt from a speech given at the 2007 MDRT annual meeting. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

Gina Pellegrini is the owner of Pellegrini Team Consulting, a firm specializing in small-business management and employee development, and the author of The Appointment Scheduler. Contact her at 952-829-5300 or at

For more ideas from Gina Pellegrini, tune in to’s podcast “How to Delegate Effectively—and Better Leverage Your Staff.”


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