4 Tips to Help You Delegate Learned from Grocery Delivery

Publix grocery delivery has changed my life!  Well maybe that is an exaggeration but discovering how easy and beneficial this is at nine months pregnant is a game-changer.  If you haven’t tried it (or another type of grocery delivery service) I suggest you do.  It is saving me at least two hours weekly prepping for the grocery store, going to the grocery store, shopping, and then unloading all groceries.   

It’s delegating a task that you can’t create (or are the best person to create) value from at its finest.  It’s what millionaires do. The best kind of delegating.  

Leadership is a game of delegation too. It is a game of defining vision and then creating tasks/objectives to achieve that vision in a way that selects the best people to do each task/objective in a way that optimizes returns. It should kill two birds with one stone: allowing you as a leader to optimally maximize your time and the time of others while teaching and imparting valuable skills to others.  

I’m in a transition much like my grocery store delegation in my business right now. With very competent and capable staff members, a new baby on the way, and a new business launch this year that is hyper-focused on key growth objectives, I’ve spent much of the last three months delegating things to others that I know they are better suited to contribute value to than I am in a way that also grows their skills and learning. 

In all of this, I’ve learned some keys to maximizing the delegation game: 

  1. Realize the importance and reason for delegating. This is pretty much described above, but reading the two posts linked out in the text above will really provide additional context for this: 

 It’s what millionaires do. It should kill two birds with one stone.

Once you understand this, it’s pretty clear to see that spending $99.00 a year on grocery delivery service and a $5.00-10.00 tip each time for the driver is totally worth it. Not that I would be spending the same exact time each day that I would be going to the grocery store billing clients, but I can do the math and know my two hours each week is much better spent on other things.  Much like if I delegate important tasks that someone else can do better than I can, it frees up my time to contribute value in the best way I can. 

  1. Have a mode to support the transfer of task/outcomes/objectives that is easy to use. This is usually in the form of some type of technology that works well. The Publix grocery delivery app is so easy to use, and I haven’t had any trouble finding the products I need.  Since I can pick specific products with specific SKU’s it makes the delegation of what I want easy for the person that is shopping for me.  It is clear and straightforward.  

In business, we use a CRM/project management tool called Insightly.  Everyone on our team can create business contacts, opportunities, projects, and tasks and assign things to others in an easy and intuitive way.   I can check it at regular intervals to see progress on things without having to bother the person working on something, and I also get notifications when things are completed via email and my phone. The Publix grocery app does the same thing. I know exactly when the person starts shopping for my groceries, I can track what items he/she has in their cart, and it notifies me when they are on their way with an arrival time.  

  1. Have a mode to support communication when clarity of task assignment or objectives is needed. Not everything can easily be communicated through an app, but tools like being able to put notes in my produce items (such as, “I want green bananas instead of ripe yellow or brown ones.”) can help you specify what is needed.  They can also reach out to you to ask questions about your grocery needs if they need clarity via the app. 

Obviously, business communication isn’t as easy as whether you want your bananas green or yellow.  But the same principle applies. The way this looks like for us is an open channel to always call or email me with questions and vice versa related to project scope or tasks. In addition, we hold monthly one-on-one meetings to communicate and clarify roles and responsibilities and calibrate towards the ultimate goals. 

  1. Have a mode for feedback. One delivery led to some rotten grapes and some green onions that looked like they had been soaked in water and drowned. The app always sends a push notification asking you to provide feedback on the experience and your groceries. I was able to note this feedback, and they refunded my money for both items. 

When we are trying to use delegation as a way to grow and develop others, feedback channels always need to be open and need to be two-way. Our monthly one-on-ones help to foster this dialogue.  For example, our newest team member is still adjusting to moving to a new city for this role and also transitioning from a very structured work environment (otherwise known as be here from 8 am-5 pm M-F) to a very unstructured one (where it is we don’t care how and when you get work done, just get it done by always keeping the vision, mission, and the customer’s needs top of mind). We discussed her concerns related to this transition period during our last one-on-one and also discussed ways to help with this different way of working that she is suited for, but still not accustomed to. This was also a time for me to ask her what I could do differently, or would be helpful in communicating with her given the adjustment in proximity to me and co-workers she is collaborating with as we all work remotely. 


What lessons have you learned to help you delegate more effectively?  

Mary Ila Ward

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