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Jerome Knyszewski: What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Ashley Dellinger: I think the best companies are created when the founders have intentionally created a company that solves for a problem that they have personally experienced. That is exactly what our CEO and Founder, Bill Catania, did with OneRail. What makes OneRail stand out is that we are solving an incredibly complex set of problems, simply. We are connecting supply and demand. Companies have items that need to be delivered, and we connect those deliveries to drivers willing to deliver them. Of course, there is highly complex tech stack behind it, but the solution to the problem was right there all along. Bill had to vision to harness it and turn it into a business.
Jerome Knyszewski: Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Ashley Dellinger: The starting point is to determine the cause of the burnout. If you are experiencing burnout, you are either not in the right position or you need to ask for help or for more resources… which is timely for our chat today about delegating. That said, there will always be periods that are more stressful that normal and longer hours are required, but if it is nonstop, that is not sustainable for anyone. Find the source and start there. Those periods of stress should not be frequent enough to cause burnout. Dedicate time to take a breather using take your vacation days. Stepping away is healthy!.
Jerome Knyszewski: Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. Delegating effectively is a challenge for many leaders. Let’s put first things first. Can you help articulate to our readers a few reasons why delegating is such an important skill for a leader or a business owner to develop?
Ashley Dellinger: Of course. First, if you’re not delegating you are missing out on valuable input and ideas from others. Repeating the same process, the same way that you’ve always done, won’t allow for improvement or fresh points of view that could be beneficial for your company.
Second, delegation is necessary to develop your team. How many times have we seen this scenario or heard this: “I’ll send it to Todd. He’ll be able to get it to about 80%, and then I’ll finish the rest.” Instead of accepting Todd’s 80%, we should be coaching Todd on how to get it to 100% to improve his development. Added bonus: Now every time you delegate that task to Todd, he knows how to do it, and you’ll get back that 20% of your time over and over again.
Third, in any position, especially a leadership position, you should focus your productivity on your main objective is. If your job is to generate revenue, the vast majority of your time should be spent doing that. If you need Marketing collateral, don’t try to build your own. Reach out to Marketing and explain what you need, and why it is important to reaching your revenue goals. Focus your time on your objectives. Delegating is a great start to that.
Jerome Knyszewski: Can you help articulate a few of the reasons why delegating is such a challenge for so many people?
Ashley Dellinger: It’s difficult for a several reasons, generally specific to the individual. I think the most common is fear. Many leaders are naturally control freaks. They have gotten to where they are because they are good at what they do. It can be hard to let someone else contribute. There are risks associated with delegation. The risks create fear. What if we aren’t in full control of every piece of the process and the subsequent desired goal is not achieved? That outcome may leave us thinking after the fact, “If I had just done all of this myself, would the outcome have been the same?”.
Also, many leaders, especially new leaders, can feel like they are “dumping” work onto someone else by delegating. That is where the five points which we are going to talk about later come into play. If you delegate efficiently, ensuring that everyone understands their role in the business and the expected outcome, then it isn’t “dumping”; it’s collaboration and teamwork towards a common goal. Delegation should show your teammates that you trust and value them, which is what will set the standard for your company’s culture.
Jerome Knyszewski: In your opinion, what pivots need to be made, either in perspective or in work habits, to help alleviate some of the challenges you mentioned?
Ashley Dellinger: Your perspective has to change from a “me-centric” standpoint to a team-oriented standpoint. Focusing on effective delegation will lead to the development of your team and your business. Many people have the viewpoint of wanting to be indispensable in their organizations. In my opinion, we should be doing the opposite. If you step away from the business for a vacation and the wheels DON’T fall off, THAT is the sign of a successful leader.
Quite frequently, those who experience that burnout are those who haven’t given their people the authority and the tools that they need to be successful without them. Your goal should not be to be indispensable; it should be to empower and develop those around you to make decisions and act with autonomy and confidence. If you think you are great at what you do, wouldn’t it be even better to have more “you”s in the company? Imagine your business’s trajectory from there.
Jerome Knyszewski: Thank you for all of that. We are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Ashley Dellinger: I would love to see more business leaders take time to focus on at-risk youth, earlier — before they’re at-risk. After college, I spent a few months volunteering in a mostly low-income elementary school. What I saw would break your heart. Teachers can’t do it all, and kids expect to hear encouragement from their teachers. What they don’t expect is to have the CEO of a company tell them that they can do it and take an interest in their future and success. I would love to see more businesses step up in that area. Businesses are generally great at donating money to organizations, but I would love to see more of us donate our time as well.
Jerome Knyszewski: How can our readers further follow you online?
Ashley Dellinger: I can be followed directly on LinkedIn or at OneRail’s page.
Jerome Knyszewski: This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!