Poster for Mads Singers and Jason Barnard

Mad Singers has more than 8 years of experience as a management and outsourcing coach. In this video interview with Jason Barnard, he discuss how to delegate effectively in your company.

Learn how to effectively assess what you should be doing and how to effectively remove or delegate the things that you shouldn’t be doing, to effectively grow your business and make the most of your resources.

Scheduled for 02 November 2021 at 17 H CEST (Paris)

The event is 100% free:

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Organised by Kalicube in partnership with Wordlift.

Part of the Kalicube Tuesdays series.

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Welcoming the Guest, Mads Singers, for This Episode of Kalicube Tuesdays

[00:00:00] Jason Barnard: Kalicube Tuesdays. We’re here today with Mads Singers. Welcome, Mads. You’re in Mexico City. 

[00:00:06] Mads Singers: I am indeed. I figured that won’t be one of the new places where you probably haven’t had anyone from. So, I figured Mexico City is the place to be.

[00:00:14] Jason Barnard: Very true. Mexico City, the place to be. A quick hello and we’re good to go. Welcome to the show, Mads Singers. 

[00:00:26] Mads Singers: Unfortunately, I’m not the singer here, but that is life. 

[00:00:31] Jason Barnard: I don’t know. With that big deep voice, you could probably do a decent song there, couldn’t you? 

[00:00:35] Mads Singers: Not really, no.

Talking About How the Ability to Sing Works on the Idea of Predicting the Next Note Rather Than Physical Ability 

[00:00:36] Jason Barnard: I was talking to David Amerland about people who can sing and people who can’t, and he was telling me that it has to do with being able to predict the next note rather than physical ability.

[00:00:50] Mads Singers: I’m the least musical-ish human being on planet Earth, I think. No rhythm in my body and yeah.

[00:00:57] Jason Barnard: Okay.

[00:00:58] Mads Singers: None of all that stuff.

[00:01:00] Jason Barnard: I didn’t really remember everything he said, but David was saying basically music has all to do with prediction. In fact, the human brain in general tends to work on the idea of prediction. You will tend to be more skilled on something you can predict.

[00:01:14] Mads Singers: Yeah.

Looking at and Assessing Mads Singers’ Brand SERP, Which Includes a Knowledge Panel for His Podcast

[00:01:14] Jason Barnard: But that’s not the point today. The point today, and we’ll start off with your Brand SERP, which is always what I start with, my obsession. Nobody else is interested, but I don’t care. The podcast update, the podcast Knowledge Panel update a couple of weeks ago, I published an article in Search Engine Land all about that. And your podcast, the Mads Singers Management Podcast, comes up with a Knowledge Panel from now it would be a couple of weeks ago. Did you know about that? 

[00:01:41] Mads Singers: I did.

[00:01:41] Jason Barnard: How did you feel?

[00:01:43] Mads Singers: I have been spying on my Knowledge Panel ever since I spoke with you at the last SEO Mastery Summit, which was in September.

The Podcast Knowledge Panel Will Eventually Develop Into Something Where More Information Could Be Added 

[00:01:53] Jason Barnard: Right. And that looks pretty good. I like your Knowledge Panel. Basically, they’ve come out. It’s just the description and the title with potentially some related podcasts underneath, which you don’t get, but you probably will. And over time, I think in the next few months, we’re going to start to be able to add more information to these, but that’s something that’s going to develop. But then I looked in the news column, the news vertical, and the first result is 34 best podcasts to listen to in 2021. What do you think of that? 

[00:02:27] Mads Singers: I thought I was just the best. I didn’t know I was the 34 best. 

[00:02:33] Jason Barnard: One of the 34 best podcasts to listen to in whatever year it was, was it 2021 or 2022? 2021, is Mads Singers. And I would hope that With Jason Barnard… would’ve been in there, but it’s not in that list, whereas yours is. And I’m deeply disappointed.

[00:02:48] Mads Singers: Someday, some way.

Introducing the Topic for This Kalicube Tuesdays Episode: How to Delegate Effectively

[00:02:50] Jason Barnard: Brilliant. But today we are talking about how to delegate effectively. This has to be one of the shortest titles we’ve had. And you’ve just told me that you are incredibly verbose and for a short title, you’ve got a lot to say.

[00:03:04] Mads Singers: Definitely. Yeah. I think when there’s a lot of good stuff to share, you might as well share.

Mads Singers’ Life as a Digital Nomad, a Founder of Several Companies, and a Master of Delegating 

[00:03:12] Jason Barnard: Brilliant. One of the things, talking to you, you travel around the world. You don’t have a home. You’re a digital nomad. And basically, you delegate, and that’s how you do it. So, you are the master of delegating. And it’s allowed you to live a life of happiness and hotels, living in hotels and Airbnbs. 

[00:03:36] Mads Singers: I’m not sure happiness and hotels necessarily go hand in hand, I would say. I’ve had years where I spend more than 200 days a year in a hotel. And I’m not necessarily the biggest fan of hotels, but yeah. Airbnbs, particularly when you go somewhere for longer periods, is definitely much more my style, so yeah. But yeah, as you say, I’ve built six different companies now. And I host a bunch of stuff in the SEO world, so I have a SEO conference, the SEO Mastery Summit.

[00:04:09] I do lots of cool stuff. We have an in-house SEO team, primarily just to build our own sites and flip sites and make money that way. I have a big outsourcing company as well and so on. So, lots of interesting stuff. My main passion though is really around management, coaching, and consulting.

[00:04:27] The problem most people have all the time is the fact that they get promoted into positions of management with no training and no support. And it happens. I’ve worked in some of the biggest companies in the world. And it happens in some of the biggest places, it happens in some of the smallest places. But fundamentally, it’s one of those places.

One of the biggest ROIs you can invest in is really increasing or improving your management skills.

– Mads Singers

[00:04:45] Mads Singers: A lot of time people look at SEO and they’re like, oh, we can do all this great stuff. Reality is when you start having employees. One of the most effective things and one of the biggest ROIs you can invest in is really increasing or improving your management skills and the management skills of the managers you have.

Most People, Particularly in the SEO World, Find It Difficult to Let Go of Their Employees, Which Hinder Their Growth

[00:05:04] Jason Barnard: And that’s what I’m here to learn. Because I didn’t get promoted into the management position, I created the management position for myself by creating my own company, which is what you’ve done. And you’ve got gazillions of employees working for you and with you, and you delegate incredibly effectively. Now, one of the things I find difficult is letting go.

[00:05:29] Mads Singers: Yes. That is what a lot of people find difficult.

[00:05:32] Jason Barnard: Jolly good. I’m not on my own.

[00:05:34] Mads Singers: You’re not alone, definitely not. Particularly not in the world of SEO, lots and lots of very detail oriented people that love hindering their staff and growing and developing.

The Big Difference Between Delegating Tasks Versus Delegating Responsibilities 

[00:05:46] Jason Barnard: Right. Okay. You said hindering. Now, by not letting go, by not properly delegating, not trusting them, I’m hindering them. Is that correct? 

[00:05:54] Mads Singers: Right. So, here’s the thing. If you ever worked in a company and if you’ve ever been given responsibility, now most people who develop, and even in SEO, the way you learn SEO is not having someone hand you 70,000 processes of how to do something. The way you learn SEO is the way you learn everything else, which is someone gives you responsibility and ownership to make something happen, and you then have to go and figure out how to do it. That is the fundamental of how to learn things.

[00:06:25] One of the big misconceptions there is in the online business world in general is the fact that you put things into a process, hire someone, and just tell them to do exactly that one thing. So, the problem is when you delegate tasks versus delegating responsibilities, it’s worlds apart. I’ve run a huge outsourcing company, and one of the biggest things we’ve always seen in terms of people getting the most out of their workforce is exactly that. People are so concerned with delegating tasks and often not even sharing the ideal outcomes.

You Have to Come at a Different Angle on Giving Tasks to Your Employees, Wherein You Have to Come With a Responsibility Point of View

[00:07:06] Mads Singers: So if we do a quick role play here…

[00:07:09] Jason Barnard: Oh, I like this. It’s like being back at school. How lovely. 

[00:07:13] Mads Singers: Exactly. So if I’m like, hey, Jason, here’s a process of how we run Kalicube Tuesdays. Can you sit down, look at that, and figure out how to do it, and just get it done? And the thing is, what will happen is you sit down, you look at it, you get it done. If I come to you with a responsibility point of view, I come at a different angle, and I say, Jason, I love the way you communicate with people. I think you are exceptionally good at building relationships and all this good stuff, and I want you to own this piece. I want you to be the master of Kalicube Tuesdays.

[00:07:50] And the objective, the goal is to build a big audience. It’s to make sure that we get a lot of reach, and it’s to make sure that we really inform people about Brand SERPs. Now, the difference between those two ways of doing it is huge, and particularly for the receiver.

What Approach Should You Take if You’re Working on a Task-Based System With Your Team, Like Kalicube? 

[00:08:10] Jason Barnard: Right. Okay. We’ll come back to that because the first thing that strikes me is I’m now working with a small team. And we are working on this task-based system that you just described as being absolute rubbish. But the idea from my perspective was saying, I have a set of tasks that I have to do every week. If I can just create a process, I can then just give that task to somebody else.

[00:08:32] Mads Singers: Yes.

[00:08:32] Jason Barnard: So from my perspective, it was saying let’s create some time for myself by giving a whole series or a series of a process that comes to a big task to somebody else. And you are saying that wouldn’t have been the way to do it or that I can evolve?

[00:08:47] Mads Singers: What I’m saying is it’s the way you do it. So, give me an example of a task that you have delegated recently. 

[00:08:54] Jason Barnard: Setting up Kalicube Tuesdays on Crunchbase.

The Focus Should Be on the Outcome, Where You Make It Clear to Your Employees That You’re Giving Them Ownership and Responsibility

[00:08:57] Mads Singers: Right. So, the whole thing here is that if people feel you’re just giving them tasks, if you are like, click this button 27 times every day, that doesn’t motivate people. When you tell people directly, I want you to be responsible, I want you to own this area, this piece. Having a process is still good. You can still say, this is to process this, how we do it right now. Now, if you can find a better way to do it, great because you’re a smart human being and so on.

[00:09:28] But the whole thing is that the focus and the ownership is on the outcome. It’s not on do the task. So, it’s not sit down, click this button 27 times. It’s like I want you to be responsible for making sure that we are published every week. I want you to make sure that we have show notes that really engage the audience every week or something like that.

It’s really making it clear to people that you’re giving them ownership and that you’re giving them responsibility.

– Mads Singers

[00:09:52] Mads Singers: So, the whole point is it doesn’t take a significant change in your approach, but it’s really making it clear to people that you’re giving them ownership and that you’re giving them responsibility, not just giving them a manual and saying, follow this manual and do nothing else.

A Task-Based System Will Not Make Your Employees Think Creatively and Suggest Improvements

[00:10:09] Jason Barnard: Okay. In that case, what you can also do is, as you said, say this is the process as we currently have it. This is the manual. Take this manual and improve it. 

[00:10:17] Mads Singers: Yeah. 

[00:10:19] Jason Barnard: But you can’t just say, improve it, because there’s no goal. You have to say, improve it to hit this goal.

[00:10:24] Mads Singers: Exactly.

[00:10:26] Jason Barnard: I’m listening.

[00:10:27] Mads Singers: The whole thing with this is the fact that when people are giving out tasks, the one complain every SEO have is they’re like, oh, my staff never suggest improvements. And it’s like, no, because you have given them a task. And here’s the thing. They don’t start thinking creative. And the problem is if you give them the process and say, follow this thing, as soon as something breaks, they’re like, oh, Jason, what do I do? This thing doesn’t look the way it looks in my paper. What do I do?

People Make Great Decisions When You Make Them Think, So Don’t Ever Answer Their Questions

[00:10:57] Mads Singers: And the only thing that happens is that a million questions end up on your desk. And if I open your Slack or however you communicate with your team, I will bet that right now there’s probably a whole bunch of questions sitting in them waiting to be answered. And one of my golden rules was never answer questions, so yeah.

[00:11:19] So, just to go into that briefly. The whole thing is that when people come to you with a question, they build a process in their head. Say, okay, every time I have this question, ask Jason. Every time I have this type of question, ask Jason. Now, this is why people say, well, my staff always ask me the same questions. And I’m like, yep, because they build a process in their head saying when they have this type of issue, ask Jason.

[00:11:44] Now, here’s the thing most people don’t do. One, they don’t make the staff think, and two, again, they don’t let the staff be responsible. So, the most important thing about having people who make great decisions is making them think. So, the only one rule is when people ask you a question, don’t ever answer it.

What Do You Do if Your Employees Ask a Question: You Ask a Question Back 

[00:12:05] Jason Barnard: What do I do instead?

[00:12:07] Mads Singers: You ask a question back.

[00:12:09] Jason Barnard: Oh, that sounds like one of these terrible, I’m going to say it’s never answer a question, just ask a question back, which is one of those really annoying conversations that I tend to walk out of.

[00:12:21] Mads Singers: It is one of those really annoying conversations, and it is the only way you make people think.

[00:12:26] Jason Barnard: Okay.

[00:12:27] Mads Singers: Because if they think you always have the answer, you will always be the person answering all the messages. Now, here’s the thing. If you are one of these people where you have your team constantly pinging you on Slack or Skype or whatever you use, honestly it’s because you build the process in their head to ask you every time there’s a question. And yes, I know most of you guys are control freaks, you like knowing it all, but here’s the thing. When your staff doesn’t start thinking, basically you’re hindering the development.

When You’re Not Developing Your Employees, There Will Be a Gap Between Your Growth and Their Growth

[00:12:55] Mads Singers: So, the thing is most of the time when you’re hiring people, you’re basically in a situation where you are up here and your staff is here. So, you hire someone new. Now what should happen is because they do a limited task compared to you, over time, they should ideally get up to your level. However, what happens is when you’re not developing them, you’re growing and they’re growing, but there’s still a gap.

[00:13:18] And a lot of the time, when you are in a situation where you’re like, well, I don’t have anyone to delegate to because my staff is not good enough, generally that happens because of you. It’s because you have hindered their development and you are hindering their development. And the number one way to get out of that is really giving people more responsibility, and they want to share.

How Do You Approach a Situation Wherein Your Employee Makes a Mistake?  

[00:13:39] Jason Barnard: And does that also mean then that, obviously, when people are growing into a role, they’re going to make mistakes. So, I have to be able to accept that there are mistakes. Those mistakes will be made. Do I just let it roll or do I go in and say, actually, this could have been better, here’s how we could have done it better? Because that’s, once again, removing the responsibility, which is wrong. 

[00:14:00] Mads Singers: So, the whole thing is people are so focused on processes because they’re very detail oriented. The whole question is what was the output? So, like in SEO, for example, so often I see people having these 800,000 processes to follow. And yes, I love math and do all the things. It’s great. But here’s the thing, in any business, there’s 80-20 of a lot of stuff.

[00:14:27] And a lot of the time, there’s also a lot of cases where it’s not about if you published a podcast, let’s say this show. If you ran this show at 10:30 because someone accidentally scheduled one of your visitors half an hour wrong, does that mean that the whole world breaks down? No.

We All Learn From Our Mistakes; The Key Thing Is Giving the People the Right Responsibility and the Right Ownership 

[00:14:46] Jason Barnard: Oh, no. With the timing, it’s usually me who messes up and then the other people have to put it right. Joan put this one right because I got it wrong.

[00:14:55] Mads Singers: Right. But that’s exactly the whole thing. So, the thing is we all make mistakes from time to time, and that’s how we learn. Now, when you give people responsibility and ownership, the key thing is giving the right people the right responsibility, and the right people the right ownership. But the whole thing is that most people will positively surprise you when they feel empowered, when they feel the ownership.

[00:15:19] And the problem is a lot of the time people are sitting around hoping for you to give them more. Now, for all of those out there who have had a day job ever, and one of the key things is that when you’ve ever had a boss who’ve trusted you and given you more responsibility, you have loved it because all people do.

Do All People Actually Like Being Given Responsibilities? 

[00:15:42] Jason Barnard: There is a question. All people like responsibility. Is that true?

[00:15:47] Mads Singers: All people like to be trusted. 

[00:15:49] Jason Barnard: Right. It’s not the same thing. Good point.

[00:15:51] Mads Singers: I’m not saying they like any responsibility. Because if you hate sitting, looking at numbers, and you’re being delegated finance tasks, you might not like it. But the whole concept is that no one wakes up in the morning wanting to go do a bad job. No human being wakes up in the morning and say, I want to go to work and I want to do a horrible job today. And sometimes people think they do, but no one does, at least I haven’t met anyone that does. So, the whole concept is that people go to work to do a good job. Now, if they’re being shown trust and responsibility and ownership, that is usually something people appreciate.

Even Though Some People Are Naturally Better Followers Than Leaders, They Still Want to Be Recognised

[00:16:32] Jason Barnard: Right. No. Because I was thinking, a friend of mine I used to work with who built the initial Kalicube platform with me, which is now being rebuilt. And what was interesting is that he said, I don’t want to decide what needs to be done. I just want to be told to go from A to B. And now you mention it. I was taking that to he wanted to be told exactly what needed to be done, but he wasn’t. He was saying, I want to know where I need to go. Let me figure out how to get there. I don’t want to organise it, but I do want responsibility for the little chunk that I’m dealing with or the big chunk.

[00:17:08] Mads Singers: And here’s the thing. There’s people who are naturally better followers than leaders. And that’s okay. But those people still want to be recognised, they still want to have responsibility, they still want to make an impact. So, just because someone is not necessarily, at least yet, a leader or someone that naturally just steps up and do stuff, it doesn’t mean they don’t want to be recognised. It doesn’t mean they don’t want responsibility. In fact, a lot of the time they really do, but they want to feel trusted to do it.

[00:17:38] So, some people, it’s like you say, oh, yeah, can you go do this thing? And you don’t even finish this sentence, and they’re off doing it. Whereas you have other people who need a lot more assurance, they’ll ask a lot more questions. They want more information and details before they go at it. But whatever type of people you work with, nothing is right or wrong. The whole thing is that it’s all about fundamentally making sure that you put the right people at the right type of stuff.

The Importance of Having Great Personality, Attitude, and Mindset Rather Than Having Skills and Experience 

[00:18:05] Jason Barnard: Sorry to interrupt that. Because I was on a podcast a few weeks ago, an entrepreneurial podcast, and talking about what I learned in Mauritius. Because Mauritius didn’t have qualified people for the jobs that I needed, I ended up employing people because I thought they would be good people to work with and then adapting the tasks around them, which worked out really, really well.

[00:18:28] And what I now realise is I actually did give them responsibility. But one thing I would say is they earnt, in inverted commas, by doing the initial tasks as we trained them up. Basically, it built up naturally in the sense that I would then say, right now I’m trusting you and I’m not even going to look at your work anymore. You’re just going to get on with it.

It Is Better to Hire Great People and Spend More Time Training and Guiding Them Than to Hire People Who Have Skills But Aren’t in the Right Mindset 

[00:18:47] Mads Singers: Yep. And here’s the whole thing. Personality, attitude, mindset is so much more important. Obviously, if you hire a developer, yes, they need to know how to code. But you are much, much better hiring great people and spending more time training them and guiding them than you are hiring people who have the skills or have the experience, but aren’t the right mindset and aren’t the right company fit. And that’s why, again, you’re very successful with what you did.

[00:19:21] Because when you go and hire people, my best hires have known absolutely nothing about what they’ve been doing. So, I hired a girl. When I started my podcast a couple of years ago, I hired a girl that used to be in HR. And I was like, have you ever heard of podcast? Nope. I’m like, great, you’re going to be responsible for my podcast. And an amazing hire because she was the right person. She had the right attitude, the right mindset. And that’s what’s required.

There Are Two Types of Approach When Starting: You Can Figure It Out Yourself or You Can Hire Someone and Pay Them

[00:19:49] Jason Barnard: But the initial kickoff period is going to be full of mistakes, full of setbacks, and that’s part and parcel of the deal?

[00:19:56] Mads Singers: Yeah. There’s two types of things. So, for example, when I did this podcast, as an example, I didn’t have a podcast. Now, I can sit down and I could figure it all out myself. And that would be a waste of my time because my time is everything else being equal, more valuable than anyone that works with me.

[00:20:14] So, fundamentally, I could sit down and figure it out and I could get all the systems up running and all that kind of stuff or I could do what I did, which was hire someone, pay them a reasonable amount of money every month, and for them to go and figure out how to get it done.

When You Start Delegating Things That You’re Not the Expert At, That Is When Your Life Changes 

[00:20:30] Jason Barnard: Right. Okay. Now, from that perspective, because I’ve tended to work on the idea of I figure out how to do it, teach somebody else to do it, they then pick it up. That saves me time. You’re laughing because that’s totally stupid, isn’t it?

[00:20:44] Mads Singers: So, here’s the thing. I can promise you the CEO of IBM is not figuring out what everyone in the organisation have to do and then delegating it to them. 

[00:20:55] Jason Barnard: Right. And that’s why he’s paid or she’s paid $55 million a year, and I’m paid not $55 million a year.

[00:21:03] Mads Singers: Slightly less, quite a bit less. But yeah, that’s the focus. So, the whole thing is when you start delegating things that you’re not the expert at, that is when your life changes. Because here’s the thing, even when you figure something out, build the process and then delegate it, you’re still the expert that ends up with all the questions. You know what’s great is when you’re not the expert and they come and ask you a question, you’re like, you got to figure it out. They’re like, okay, I’ll go figure it out.

Let it happen. The mistakes will be there, and that’s part of the process.

– Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy)

[00:21:33] Jason Barnard: Right. No. That makes a lot of sense. And now, you were talking about control freaks, and I’m beginning to think that I’m in that bucket. I look at it and I think, well, I could have done that without making that mistake because I know lots of other things from other things I’ve done, and I’m old and very experienced. And it seems to me a pity not to stick my oar in, as it were, and try and help out. But in fact, what you are saying is it will happen. Let it happen. The mistakes will be there, and that’s part of the process.

If I Pay You Less Than I Pay Myself, Then It Is Much Better Use of Company Resources for You to Figure It Out Than Me

[00:22:05] Mads Singers: Sometimes people will fail, but here’s the thing, Jason. If you had never heard of link building and I say, hey, Jason, you’re a super smart guy, you are good at all these amazing things, I would want to go and figure out how we can build some links to my website. Now, I know as a smart guy, I could go and try and figure it out myself or I could ask you to do it. Now, even if you had never heard of link building, I know that you could figure out how to do it. And here’s the thing. If I paid you a relatively significant small amount than I pay myself every hour, then… 

[00:22:37] Jason Barnard: $55 million a year, please.

[00:22:41] Mads Singers: Yeah, possibly. But if I pay you less than I pay myself, then it is much, much better use of company resources for you to figure it out than for me to figure it out. And this is the problem. When you look at most SEOs, they are the expert at everything in their business. And that is why they never build a business because really they build, it’s like a small agency around themself, which means one, try and give any of them a month holiday and see what happens. The answer is nothing. And fundamentally, they build them into, it’s often a well paid job, but it’s a job they cannot leave. They can’t do anything. And that’s not the way to go.

Kalicube’s Situation on Being Expert on Entity Optimisation But It Isn’t Considered Important Yet Within the SEO Sphere 

[00:23:23] Jason Barnard: Yeah. When I talk to agencies, with Kalicube Pro, one of the problems I’m having, I’m going to tell you all my problems, is the Kalicube platform does one job spectacularly well, which is entity optimisation. But right now, within the SEO sphere, entity optimisation isn’t really considered to be important. It’s not something you can sell to a client and get the client to give extra money for. And the agencies I’ve talked to have said, well, we have a really strict process that we go through and we can’t fit this into that process, therefore we won’t use it.

[00:23:56] And I’m saying, but you’re missing out on a really big chunk of your strategy. And they’re saying, but the only way we can survive is to have a really strict process, because it’s the only way we can manage how much we’re charging for the work we’re doing and how much we’re paying people. That’s how we balance the books.

Some Common Problems of Agencies: Churn Rate and Skill Growth of the Staff 

[00:24:12] Mads Singers: Yeah. And reality is. When you look at most agencies again, their biggest challenge is churn. A lot of agencies really have big trouble with churn. Because as soon as people are good, they’re out of there. They don’t particularly enjoy working there. So, as soon as they have the skills to go through it on their own, they do.

[00:24:33] The second thing that most agencies have a problem with is this growth thing. So, it’s always the owner that’s significantly better than most of the staff or maybe they have a great SEO. So, the second thing around delegation that people mistake is they try and replicate themselves.

[00:24:48] Jason Barnard: Ooh. That was an ooh, that’s interesting, as opposed to ooh, can you stop talking? It was an ooh, that’s interesting. Please keep talking.

The More Technical Skills That Are Centred Around a Single Person, the More Difficult They Are to Replace 

[00:24:57] Mads Singers: Exactly. So, here’s the thing. Most SEOs try and say, if I just had someone like me, I could get a lot more done. But here’s the thing, companies exist for the specialisation of labour. And even if you could duplicate yourself, what would happen is one, the person would most likely leave. Because if they had your skill set and was not paid significant amount of money, they would probably go do it on their own. So, that’s one thing. The second thing is the more skills, not material skills, but the more technical skills that centred around a single person, the more difficult they are to replace.

If they’ve delegated properly, the rest of the team can function while they’re not there.

– Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy)

[00:25:35] Jason Barnard: Right. Which also brings me to the question is if you say, I’m the boss of IBM, let’s say, and I’m paid $55 million a year, and I have somebody who’s running an entire department and that person then leaves, and they were running it in a very specific way or they had all these delegation skills, that’s a worrying situation because I then have to replace them. And while I’m replacing them, oh mind you, I’ve just thought if they’ve delegated properly, the rest of the team can function while they’re not there. You are smiling because I’ve just figured it out. Go on. Can you explain it better? Because I just explained it.

The Thing Most Companies Don’t Consider: A Natural Replacement for Any Person Who Will Leave Their Operations

[00:26:08] Mads Singers: So, the whole thing is most companies don’t do this. But if any person in your operation leaves, who’s the natural replacement?

[00:26:20] Jason Barnard: Oh, right.

[00:26:21] Mads Singers: Now, if you don’t know that, you might have a problem someday, particularly when it comes to management. So if you have any managers in your company, they should generally be fostering the next them. Which means if they don’t show up, if they’re on holiday, someone should be attending their meetings in their place.

The Time You Get Promoted Is When Someone Knows Everything That You Do and You’re Not Needed in Your Role

[00:26:45] Jason Barnard: Right. Actually, I only figured out half of it. Half of it is that everybody delegates to the people below them. So that if that person isn’t there for a while, the people can continue to function. But also, each person is training somebody to be able to replace them amongst the people they’re delegating, except for the boss.

[00:27:04] Mads Singers: See, here’s the thing. No, including the boss. So, here’s the thing. Most people are afraid of having anyone know all the stuff they do, because then they could just get fired. But here’s the thing, what happens is the time you get promoted is when someone knows everything you do. That’s when you get promoted.

[00:27:24] Because if removing you from a team means the team stops working, that means you’re not promotable. You’re only promotable the second you can get promoted, and the team keeps running at least at the same or maybe even better. So, the easiest way, I’ve done it a bunch of times corporately, but the easiest way to get promoted is make yourself not needed in your existing role.

The Right Organisations Have a Pyramid Structure and People Grow in Their Roles as the Company Grows

[00:27:50] Jason Barnard: Right. And does that then bring in the concept that everybody is moving up as we fill up the bottom, as it were? So, you’re filling up the bottom of your bucket of people, which sounds horrible. And I regret saying it as soon as it came out of my mouth. I thought the bucket of people in my company is a terrible way to describe it, but you’re filling up the bottom of the bucket and they’re pushing everybody else up. And if you’re totally anchored in what you are doing and irreplaceable, you are just going to stay where you are and people are going to move around you. 

[00:28:18] Mads Singers: Exactly. And what happens in organisations that don’t develop their people well, they grow like this. They grow very flat, and they end up having a lot of people reporting to many, whereas the right organisations do the pyramid. So, fundamentally, what happens is that you have managers that automatically or people that automatically grow in their roles as the company grows.

The Challenge of Being Clear Who Your Boss Is to Know Who Do You Report to, Who Can Fire You, or Give You a Pay Raise

[00:28:42] Jason Barnard: But then what do you do with the flat structure that people get terribly excited about, because it’s terribly trendy? My company works on this flat structure where nobody is anybody else’s boss.

[00:28:57] Mads Singers: So, number one challenge is that if you are not clear on who can fire you or who can give you a pay raise, that’s a problem. The number one challenge in many of those businesses is the fact that if it’s not very, very clear who your boss is, then who do you report to? It’s great to have great people with great mindsets that come in and do really cool things. But if you look at any of the biggest growing, any of the most valuable companies, they all have a very solid structure and for a reason.

As a CEO, It Is Important to Manage the Right Amount of People Who Report to You, So You Can Commit Enough Time and Be Effective

[00:29:34] Mads Singers: Now, I’m not saying that you can’t have a small structure. Now, there’s a big difference between having a small structure and not wanting to grow more people-wise or having a totally flat structure. Now, here’s the thing. If you are the CEO and you have 14 people reporting to you, you are not managing them well.

[00:29:51] Jason Barnard: Right.

[00:29:51] Mads Singers: Because you don’t have the time as a CEO to manage 14 people. You don’t. And no matter how, it’s not a question of how good those people are. But the whole thing is that when you’re managing people, it’s about enabling them and supporting them. And no matter how much time you put in, you are not going to commit enough time for a team that size to be as effective as they can.

What Is the Typical Number of People a CEO and a Manager Should Handle All at Once?

[00:30:19] Jason Barnard: Right. So, 14 people is too many to manage at one go. What kind of number you’re looking at?

[00:30:26] Mads Singers: What I typically say is if you’re a CEO, somewhere between 4 to 6 is probably the peak that you should be managing directly. If you are managing a team, I typically say 8 to 12. Now, 8 is typically if you have the top. 

[00:30:45] Jason Barnard: Sorry, just before, can we come back to one thing? You’re saying 4 to 6 because the roles are going to be very different. So, you’re trying to manage multiple different roles.

If You’re Managing a Team of People With the Same Skill Sets, You Can Manage More People Relatively Effectively

[00:30:53] Mads Singers: Not necessarily because of that. More because as a CEO, you have to focus a lot on strategic, you have to focus a lot on vision, you have to focus on the company. Which means that if you have a manager within the business, they have more capacity to manage people. Whereas a CEO, when you have higher responsibilities than just the people, not just the people but the only people, then you need time for that as well.

[00:31:21] So if you have a manager within a business, I generally say 8 to 12 people. 8 is typically the peak if you have a marketing department, where people are doing different things. So, you have one person doing PPC, one person doing SEO, one person doing branding or whatever. When you’re managing people with different skill sets, it’s different and it’s harder. If you’re managing a team of 12 customer service agents, because they all do the same, eventually you can manage more people relatively effectively.

The Important Job and Role of a Manager in Getting the Most Out of Their People and Delegating Effectively

[00:31:52] Jason Barnard: Right. Okay. And the manager basically doesn’t do the job. They’re just managing the other people doing the job. So, as a boss, you’re calculating the cost for the whole team as opposed to per employee.

[00:32:04] Mads Singers: Yeah. And I love what you just said. One of the simple things and one of the things most people make mistakes with is the second you manage other people, it stops being about you. So, there’s a lot of managers out there who’ve been promoted into management situation. And the thing is they were promoted because they were great at what they did. And they keep doing a lot of what they did, because that was what made them successful in the first place.

[00:32:29] However, what makes you successful as a manager is getting the most out of your people. So if you are sitting, working long hours, doing the work, and your people are not, no good. And I’m not saying get your people to work long hours. I’m saying get yourself into a position where you don’t have to do the work because you are delegating it effectively.

When You’re in a Managerial Position, It Stops Being About You; The Only Thing That Matters Is the Result and Output of Your Team

[00:32:49] Mads Singers: Second, if you’re trying to protect your team from burnout or working too much by doing the work for them, you’re doing it wrong. So, the whole focus as soon as you’re in a managerial position is it stops being about you. I don’t care what you do. The only thing that matters is what is the result and the output from the team. And that is a mindset shift that can be very, very difficult to make.

[00:33:13] But fundamentally, when you look at companies, it’s like a pyramid. People at the bottom is paid a certain amount of salary. The higher up you go, the more salary you’re paid. Now, if you are doing a task that someone getting paid less than you could be doing, you are wasting company resources.

[00:33:33] Jason Barnard: Right.

The Success of Jason Barnard’s Cartoon Series Even With Managing 14 People at One Point

[00:33:36] Mads Singers: Did you hear that one, Jason?

[00:33:37] Jason Barnard: I did. Yeah. I did. I did. I did. I’m doing it all wrong, of course, but I’m getting a lesson. I was thinking back to the team in Mauritius, what we ended up with, and I’m thinking about the numbers you were saying. At one point, I had 14 people and I got really, really tired. I spent my whole entire life just managing the people, and I wanted to be the blue dog in the cartoon. That was much more fun. And in the end, we ended up with 6 people.

[00:34:06] In fact, what it turns out, we ended up managing 5 million visits and 60 million page views a month with content updated every month. We made a TV series and we were incredibly effective production-wise. And it seemed to me at the time, however much our customer base grew, however much we wanted to produce in terms of content, we could do it. And a lot of it, as you say, is I just left them to it, and I didn’t actually get involved in any of the customer service stuff. I just told them generally, here are the rules, make everybody happy, I don’t want to hear about it.

Asking the Important Question: How Can You Do Your Best if You Don’t Know Why You’re Actually Doing Something?

[00:34:39] Mads Singers: Yeah. And that is the biggest challenge. Link building is one of the ones I see delegated a lot. And it’s like, follow this process, do these specific steps. And people are like, they don’t know why they do it. And the whole thing is how can you improve something? How can you even do your best if you don’t know why you’re actually doing something? It’s very difficult, and it’s the most important thing.

[00:35:02] When you delegate something, even if you have a process that you go to people with, make sure they understand what is the output you’re looking for. If you can build me 50 DA, 50 plus links per month, I’m a happy guy. If that’s the output that you’re looking for, great. But go a step further and say, why are these links important? Well, when we get great links, what happens is our side do better on the search engines, Google likes us more, and so on. So, the types of links we need is not only DA 50, but it’s ideally from sites that are relevant to our site and all this kind of stuff.

The Importance for People to Have Goals and How Goals Work Extremely Well When It Comes to Challenges

[00:35:38] Jason Barnard: But do you need then necessarily to have a KPI? Do you need to say, this is the result and this is how we’re going to measure it, or can it just be, this is going to be brilliant because it’s cool? 

[00:35:48] Mads Singers: Goals are important. And goals are important because a lot of people are driven by goals. Not everyone, but many people are driven by goals. So, first of all, you want to understand from an ROI perspective. So, for example, if you hire someone to do link building, the difference between going out and buying the links that will cost you X. If you hire someone in-house to do it, that will cost you Y. So, you obviously need to have some kind of balance of how many of what kind of quality links do a full-time person need to build a month for it to be worth having them.

Most people improve by being challenged.

– Mads Singers

[00:36:22] Mads Singers: Now, the thing is most people improve by being challenged. And the whole thing is that the goals work extremely well when it comes to challenges. Because when you have great people, the best people in the world are motivated by challenges. So if you go to Elon Musk and say, oh, well, actually you don’t need to build a space rocket anymore, you can just build a regular car. That would not motivate him once an inch.

[00:36:51] And the best people around, not necessarily better and best people, but the highest performers around generally want to be pushed. They want to be in a place where they have to find new ways to do things to be able to achieve them. And that’s super important.

Summarising the Topic About How to Delegate Effectively and Mentioning Some People Who Watched the Episode

[00:37:08] Jason Barnard: Right. So, basically, it comes down to employ people who love to be challenged give them goals, give them ownership, trust them, allow them to build out the skill set they’ve got, to the point at which that you no longer understand what it is they’re actually doing, and judge them on the results, which is absolutely brilliant. That was perfect, Mads.

[00:37:28] And just really quickly, we’ve got a few people tuning in before we finish. We’ve got Craig, who said he was going to give Mads some grief, but I didn’t let him because I care for you, Mads. And I don’t want Craig giving you grief. And here we go. Paul Andre, hi, Jason, hi, Mads, from the SEO Video Show. Absolutely delightful.

Passing the Baton From Mads Singers to Next Week’s Guest on Kalicube Tuesdays, Luke Carthy

[00:37:49] Jason Barnard: Thank you very much. I’m going to announce next week, which is actually going to be Luke Carthy, coming next week on Kalicube Tuesdays, Striking the Right Balance Between SEO and CRO. I met Luke in Brighton, and he’s so delightful, so enthusiastic, and so cheerful. I can’t wait. And tradition has it, passing the baton. Mads, please do pass the baton to Luke Carthy. 

[00:38:16] Mads Singers: Yes. I’m super excited to pass the baton to Luke, and I’m super excited to see his live as well. And he is an e-commerce expert, which is excellent. It’s one of the areas that I spend a lot of time in besides SEO, so super, super excited to see Luke next week, and yeah.

[00:38:34] Jason Barnard: Brilliant. Thank you very much. The e-commerce aspect is something we don’t have enough on this show. I definitely need to look more into that. Thank you very much, Mads. I now know how to delegate. I know my team were watching, and they’re going to give me lots of grief on Friday about how badly I’m doing. Thank you. A quick goodbye to end the show. Thank you, Mads.

[00:38:57] Mads Singers: Thank you. 

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