How Do You Define Trust?: Delegation Series #4

I hope you’ve enjoyed this Delegation Series. To wrap up, I’ve invited my Executive Assistant, Brandi, to explain how building trust in our work has enabled me to delegate things to her. Here’s Brandi...

I have had the honor of working alongside Scott for over three years now. At the beginning of our working relationship, Scott delegated to me tasks of a traditional Virtual Assistant, such as calendar management, travel coordination, copy-editing, and social media management. Although I still have involvement in some of these areas, my role within Scott’s company has evolved quite a bit, allowing me to partner with him in new ways that develop and grow his business.


These days I spend the majority of my time overseeing the full administrative scope of Scott’s coaching and consulting practice: contracting, designing and distributing program materials, administering assessments, managing coaching engagements, invoicing, and much more. Additionally, I regularly have the opportunity to partner with Scott to help guide and manage special projects, external contractors, and various growth opportunities.

As Scott and I have developed our working relationship, one very key attribute has determined our success: trust.

Merriam-Webster defines trust as, “assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something.”

Scott and I define trust as:

  • Full access to work directly with his clients, knowing that I will treat them with the utmost respect, kindness, and care, to ensure the success of the program, coaching engagement, or consultation.

  • Confidence in my decision making, allowing me the freedom to select travel arrangements, schedule meetings, edit content, and make recommendations without questioning or hesitation.

  • Reliance on each other’s areas of expertise. Recently, while talking through a project we were about to pull the trigger on, Scott said, “I am hesitating, even though I know this is the right direction, but I just can’t visualize it.” Within seconds I was able to virtually share my computer screen, walk him through a demonstration of a similar project, and give him the visuals he needed to ensure confidence in moving forward.

With trust as the foundation, Scott and I have found a rhythm that allows each of us to work within our strengths. As a result, not only are we both happy in our roles, but Scott’s business is thriving, his clients are happy, and he is free to spend his days doing what only he can do (even if it means leaving the office an hour early to play some golf or spend time with his sweet granddaughter, Natalie).

So, how do you develop this kind of trust with your team?

Here are a few things that have helped us:

  • Prioritize regular communication. Scott and I meet first thing each Monday morning via video conference to catch up and talk about the week’s priorities.  

  • Be reliable. Scott and I have proven to each other that we will do what we say we will do. If we encounter delays or roadblocks, we communicate our concerns quickly.

  • Create an environment where it is safe to fail. In our very first meeting a few years ago Scott told me that on our team there is no blaming. When we fail, we are not interested in pointing fingers, we focus on making it right and learning so that the mistake is not repeated. I have heard Scott reiterate that to our team throughout the years and I believe this has significantly contributed to an environment of trust.

Trust is not something that develops overnight, but with the right person in the right place on your team, you will be amazed at what you can accomplish together as trust grows. If you are interested in exploring the idea of finding a new team member who can partner with you in similar ways, I encourage you to reach out to BELAY.

Moving toward Delegation Expertise: Delegation Series #3

Last week you heard from BELAY’s CEO, Bryan Miles, and how he helped me with my business. This week, I’ve invited one of my virtual assistants, Tannis Oliveri, to share how she empowers multiple clients toward delegation expertise. Here’s Tannis...

When a client begins an engagement with a Virtual Assistant (VA), they are typically overworked, stressed, and looking for a reprieve from the mundane tasks that weigh them down. Through the first few weeks of onboarding with a new client, I seek to learn their pain-points, what part of their day is the most productive, their personality type, and their communication style. This helps me get a broad view of their work and life. Once I determine their greatest needs I strategize how to take things off their plate which typically begins with delegation.

Depending on their professional journey, they may or may not have utilized Bryan Miles’ delegation matrix in order to identify tasks they want to get off their plate. In my experience, some clients, like Scott, have been the one-man-show in their business and need encouragement to continue handing things over. Regardless of where the client is on the road of delegation, here are some simple tips for moving toward delegation expertise.

  • Templates, Templates, Templates: This has been the biggest area of success for my clients across the board. If I can remove the brainwork from a repeating task by creating templates, then it’s a win for everyone involved. Here are a few of my favorites:

    • Meeting + Travel Templates: This works best is in a task-management software where I list the overall details needed for meetings or travel arrangements (location, required attendees, etc). Rather than my client and I playing email-ping-pong with gathering the necessary details, my client is able to copy the template, type in the meeting or travel request information, and I take it from there. It is efficient and creates clear lines of communication.

    • Email Templates: Whether my client wants to touch base after submitting a proposal or reach out to a volunteer, a canned response gives them a track to run on. In creating the template I will include language such as, “I’ve CC'd my assistant, Tannis, on this email. Please respond to her with your availability.” In doing so my client (1) doesn’t have to remember to delegate the scheduling to me and (2) is training his team to come to me with calendar requests.

  • Gently pull things away: Expense reporting was a tremendous drain for one of my clients. When we first began our engagement he would manage all his receipts, even though I offered to do them. His response was, “It doesn’t take me much time. It’s no big deal.” But his calendar screamed how valuable his time really was. So, rather than waiting for him to upload the receipts each week, whenever an expense comes through his email, I take care of it right away. The small fragmented pieces of time are back in his control when he allows me to take the initiative.

  • Remind them of your skill-set: One of the things I’m known for (and actually enjoy doing) is taking messes and cleaning them up. Whether it’s an online storage that needs a complete overhaul, or a tangible folder that needs reorganizing, I encourage my clients to delegate that to me. When I first began with Scott his Dropbox was in desperate need of organization. Rather than Scott trying to clean it up, he handed it over to me and I whipped it into shape.

  • Ask lots of questions: Some clients have been doing a task for so long they don’t realize someone else can do it for them. During my weekly meetings with each client, I ask various open-ended questions that help them process through their tasks. This creates time and space for them to think through things and offload work that doesn’t belong on their plate.

As a Virtual Assistant, I feel I am an extension of my client. We are both working toward the same goals. When they become empowered to delegate, my clients find freedom and more time to spend on the work they love.

One Easy Way To Avoid Burnout as Leader: Delegation Series #2

Last week I kicked-off a series about Delegation. I shared my confession of being a control freak and how hiring a Virtual Assistant from BELAY changed they way I run my business. I’ve invited BELAY’s CEO, Bryan Miles, to share from his perspective, how he helped me with my business. Here's Bryan...

Throughout my years as a leader and more recently as CEO and Co-Founder of BELAY, I’ve learned many valuable leadership skills and principles. One leader who has helped our leaders and managers hone their leadership skills is Scott Livingston, one of our partners here at BELAY.

Scott is a business coach to highly successive leaders, helping them meet their goals and reach their potential in the workplace. Scott uses highly customized leadership development plans for his leadership training and executive coaching, with a focus on emotional intelligence in his training programs because it has proven to improve leader's execution and performance in their organizations.

As business leaders, we’ve each encountered times when seemingly endless tasks kept bogging us down, preventing us from growing our business. For instance, Scott spent long hours analyzing tests he conducted for leaders, processing assessments, proofing reports, scheduling meetings, and recording results. That is until he discovered the art of delegation.


Scott and I have learned over the years why delegation is integral as a leader. Effective delegation allows leaders to focus on the things that only they can do -- casting vision, strategizing and serving as the stewards of their company’s mission. When entrepreneurs are bogged down in the day-to-day details of bookkeeping, data collection, and calendar management, they’re robbing their businesses of a truly invaluable asset: their leadership.

I am often asked this question when I mentor people: “I have so much that I need to do, I don’t have time to do anything else.” And then the question comes, “So, Bryan what should I do about this?” It’s pointless to discount things like better planning and prioritizing important over urgent work, but most of the leaders I work with are “hacked out” of productivity. Everything they are working on is important. So now what?


At BELAY, we’ve learned how powerful delegation can be for leaders. So much so, that we’ve designed a delegation matrix for leaders to prioritize tasks and see what you can start delegating today so you can finally get back to doing what you really love.

For Scott, one of the first things he began delegating was data analysis for all of the tests leaders took during his training courses. He gained hours back into his schedule each week. Hours he now spends doing what he does best: coaching highly successful leaders.

One of the first things I delegated were the routine, administrative tasks that were eating up my day (aka low pay off activities). I know, taking the first step toward delegation is a doozy. In fact, giving up those first few scraps of agency to someone else can be terrifying. That’s why I suggest starting small. Begin by delegating to a Virtual Assistant (VA) your scheduling, routine correspondences, calendar management, or travel arrangements, all time-consuming details that can be easily delegated to a VA with minimal amounts of panic and distress.

Delegation is essential for your business’s success for two reasons:

1) Your time is limited.

2) You aren’t always the best person for the job.

Effective leaders thrive on humility and are never afraid to say, “I can’t handle this,” or, “I don’t know.” Delegation allows leaders to leverage the expertise of others, and use their own time more effectively. A good leader worth following should never feel guilt when delegating … they should feel relief and see results.

If you want to start alleviating stress in your workday, we’ve designed the Delegation Matrix just for you. We use the Delegation Matrix to not only help leaders prioritize a task list and determine what can be delegated today, but also to help our employees become better stewards of their responsibilities.

Delegation Matrix.JPG

Here’s how to use it:

Quadrant 1 -  Write out the things you love and that only you can do (and keep doing those)

Quadrant 2 -  Write out the things you love but that you know others can do. This is the quadrant that you should lead, teach, coach, and develop others.

Quadrant 3 -  List the tasks that you know you shouldn’t be doing or find yourself procrastinate doing. Guess what - there are other people who actually love doing these things. If you hate doing stuff that you know you should do, it will show up later. This is typically outsourced areas like bookkeeping, legal work, admin details, project management, proofreading & etc.

Quadrant 4 -  This is everyone’s favorite part - list the things you REALLY shouldn’t be doing. DELEGATE the stuff you hate & others can do. You're wasting valuable time if you do stuff in this quadrant. Get rid of these items immediately.

Don’t you think it’s time for you to start doing what you do best? Start focusing on growing your business and leave the rest to your delegates. Download and start using the Delegation Matrix today. Or let me know how you delegate: @bryanmiles.


Confessions of a Certified Control Freak: Delegation Series #1

Confessions are really hard for me.

Important, but really hard.

Confessions for me come in two different ways. Both of them entail me acting in a way that is disruptive to others.

The first way is when something is brought to my attention and I have no idea that I did it. The second way my need to confess, well, I’ll describe it in the story below.



The other day my wife and I were driving in downtown Columbus Ohio to meet our youngest son Greg, and his wife Sylvia, for lunch. Most of you already know where this story is headed by the mere fact that a man is driving in a location he is not necessarily familiar with, but here’s how the conversation went.

“Let me put the address in the GPS,” Kim said to me rather nonchalantly.  

“No, I don’t need it,” was my reply. Finished by, “I know where I am going.”(Which, I guess was said with a little, OK, a LOT a of tonal impression.)

“Really?” Kim said. ”You don’t have to use that tone with me.”

In a knee-jerk reaction, I said, “I am sorry,” thinking that what I had done would be immediately forgiven and forgotten.

But then…

Kim said, “For what?”  

Startled, I said, “What do you mean for what?”

“What are you sorry for?” she said, followed by a rather long period of silence.

Now you can see I am at an inflection point in the conversation. “My tone?” I must have said with a bit of guessing in my voice.

“Nice guess,” she said. “You don’t have to use that tone with me, I am just trying to help us get there on time.”

Time for my confession, “You’re right. It was not my intention to belittle you.”

“I know,” she stated. "But it was the impact it had on me.”

For sure, it was not my intention to belittle. But it was important for me to see this and then to verbalize and confess the error of my way. It is a bit cliché to say that confession is good for the soul, but in a meta-analysis of over 150 studies, the idea of self-disclosure has been found to be beneficial for the confessor. Scientists are just now starting to understand why this is so important.

The second type of confession is the type where I know I did something wrong without anyone bringing it to my attention. Usually this type of confession, I call Type 2, is something I have been thinking about for quite a long time. I have made a mistake and I know it. I have pondered over how much of the error I actually own and am responsible for. Then, after some contemplation, I make the decision that the responsibility is mine.

According to Meg Jay in her best selling book Supernormal, it is critical for humans to take our feelings and experiences and “put them into words.” Turns out, words for us become labels or categories, according to Jay. When we talk about our experiences, we are sorting them out. Organizing our thoughts into words and speaking them can take what has happened and make it understandable and even less upsetting for us.

My Confession

I have a Type 2 confession to share with you today.

Many of you know I work in my own Executive Coaching and Consulting practice. I have decided that at this point in my life, this type of work fits me. I really enjoy helping those I work with become happier and healthier in the organizations they serve. That is the bright side of me.

The dark side of me is I am a control freak.

There, I said it. It feels a little cathartic and freeing to write it down for all to see.

The problem of being a control freak means I want to control everything in my business. I mean everything. So, I used to do sales, product design, product development, implementation, scheduling, finance, marketing, customer follow-up, customer communication, customer delight.  Think about all the different departments in your business. I do the same thing, just on a much smaller scale.

I was doing it all. And pretty effectively for a while. But, the problem was that with my controlling every single detail, my business was only growing so far.

My Freedom

I wanted to grow my business, but I still wanted to do the work I loved. The question for me was how could I do both?

A few years ago, I was listening to a podcast by Michael Hyatt. He was talking about his friend who had figured out a Delegation Matrix that offered freedom to entrepreneurs. His name was Bryan Miles and his company is BELAY.

Bryan started BELAY with his wife, Shannon. They wanted to take the stress and worry out of the lives of the entrepreneur, minister, and executive, so that they could focus on doing what they love. The brilliance of all of this is Bryan and Shannon figured out a way to do this virtually.

So, after listening to Michael Hyatt, I did some digging on virtual assistants and set up a meeting with Bryan.

Now, what happened next was not rocket science, but it did revolutionize the way I approach my life and my business.

Bryan and I had a half-hour call scheduled and I thought we would spend time in small talk and getting to know each other. WRONG!

Bryan said, “Scott it is nice to meet you. Tell me 3 things that you love to do in your business.”

I was a bit stunned. "Well I love to coach, I love to speak to groups, and I love to write my thoughts out.”

“Great!” he said. “Now what are 10 things you have to do to coach someone that you hate to do?”

It took me a couple of minutes to come up with the 10 things, but I did it.

“Great,” he said again. "Now, how long does it take you to do those things?”

“I don’t know, maybe 10 hours or so.”

“Great,” he said for the third time. “Now, what do you bill your clients out at an hourly rate”?

He had me.

I was spending way too much time doing what I didn’t like doing when I could have been what I loved to be doing.

All I had to do was give up control of what I hated.

Now, how hard is that?

This is the first in a four-part series on the topic of delegation. Next week, you'll have the opportunity to hear directly from Bryan Miles. In the meantime, if you are interested in learning more about Belay's services, click here.