Vivian Chan of Sette: How To Delegate Effectively and Be Completely Satisfied With the Results

An Interview With Jerome Knyszewski

Jerome Knyszewski
May 7 · 11 min read

Delegation doesn’t come naturally to many people. But it’s so essential. Great leaders learn how to delegate. When it’s done right, delegation allows you to get your time back and unplug yourself from the day-to-day operation, so that you don’t have to work longer and harder. To be successful, scale with sustainable growth, and to stay focused on your natural talents and strengths, you need to learn to delegate (or outsource if you don’t have a team). You can do anything, but you can’t do everything. Delegation gives you leverage, so that you can focus on what’s really important. It allows you to get more done than you’d on your own.

part of my series about the “How To Delegate Effectively and Be Completely Satisfied With the Results”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Vivian Chan.

Vivian Chan is the founder of Sette. She is a leadership and team-building expert, and also a Gallup trained BP10 coach. Her signature framework, called The Sustainable Business Growth Catalyst, teaches successful, but overwhelmed leaders how to grow a sustainable business that allows them to take months off without the fear of it all falling apart. With 10 years of management and operation experience, she’s helped people to fix broken systems and replaced them with streamlined workflows, and built high-performing and engaging teams that attract and retain top talents. Being a natural potential-spotter and talent-nurturer, one of her greatest joys is helping people unlock their unique potential within and turn them into superpowers in what they do.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

career began as so many of ours do — climbing the corporate ladder. I was great with people management, untangling problems, and was absorbing all the ins and outs of business at a senior level.

Things seemed to be fine, but I didn’t feel appreciated. I was taken for granted. My energy was spent building a kingdom for someone else. And it felt unfulfilling.

I’ve experienced firsthand how the system works against talented and hardworking people who are committed to making positive changes to create impact. They weren’t being rewarded and appreciated for their effort, contributions and devotion. And this is very saddening and heartbreaking for me.

I realized that I don’t belong to that kind of environment and culture. So I was determined to work for myself so that I get to decide how to run a company, choose to do things the right way, and do something that gives me a sense of fulfillment. My ultimate dream would be to create job opportunities for people and let them do more of what they do best, and create a company that people love working for.

I stumbled upon the world of entrepreneurship and online businesses in 2017. As the next logical step, I started my first business on the side based on what I thought people would pay me for. But it somehow never felt aligned.

I’ve always loved helping people grow, and leveraging their talents. Seeing signs of growth in people is what fuels me. And once I discovered what my top 5 strengths are through CliftonStrengths, everything began to make sense. I started to make connections of my talents and realized how unique I am.

The seed of “becoming a coach” was planted inside me when I first discovered coaching back in 2017. At the time, I thought “Who am I to be a coach? I don’t have enough experience. I don’t have a certification”. So I let my limiting beliefs hold me back. With the help and encouragement from my mentor, I took a leap and pivoted in 2019! I then started my journey as a coach.

Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?

6–12 months after I started my journey, I was a bit discouraged by my progress. I wasn’t hitting the revenue goal and gaining the traction I was hoping for. I felt that I wasn’t as far along in the journey as I thought I’d be. So I was focusing on what I haven’t accomplished, instead of looking back and appreciating how far I’ve come. After all, I was building my business on the side while working a job. So naturally, I had limited time and I couldn’t devote 100% on my side venture. It took longer for me to see any significant results. Discouragement eventually led to inaction.

Even though I faced a lot of challenges on my path, I didn’t think about giving up. When things got tough, I’d ask myself whether I still want to continue doing what I’m doing. If my answer is yes, then I’d remind myself of my whys. Why do I want to do this? What’s the purpose behind what I’m pursuing? Why do I want to persevere? I also ask myself whether I’ve confidence that I’d make it work. If yes, then go get it! Focusing on the end goals and rewards, as well as reflecting on how far I’ve come also helps me stay motivated and keep pushing forward during the toughest times.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?

I made the mistake of killing many of my ideas/projects too quickly. I remember after sending 3 emails and posting twice on social media about my project and I didn’t get the desired response and results. Then, I jumped to the conclusion that my idea/project failed and I stopped trying.

It’s funny to think about it now — but the ultimate lesson I learned is that I need to do more experiments before making the conclusion that something is not working. Because I stopped too quickly early on and didn’t continue to do more experiments, I actually didn’t have enough data to prove that something indeed didn’t work. Now I know that before I can gauge the success or failure of my project, I need to do more tests to prove my hypothesis, and give myself more time to measure the outcomes. One seemingly unsuccessful experiment might not give me enough data to determine what worked and what didn’t.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

What makes my company stand out is that we empower people to be their best self and confident with who they are and what makes them unique. And we do this by starting with their strengths, instead of fixing their weaknesses. To maximize their potential, we focus on helping people discover what they do best and use more of those talents to make themselves and their teams better.

We believe that great leaders know their strengths and can call on the right strength at the right time. Instead of leading by imitation, leaders stay true to who they are and lead by their strengths. Our greatest talents — the ways we most naturally think, feel and behave — serve as our best opportunities for excellence when they are developed.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

I touched on this tip a bit just now. To thrive and not burn out, you need to use your strengths and do what you’re naturally best at every day. Research shows that people who know and use their strengths are more engaged, productive and happier. If you repeatedly do something you’re not good at, it’ll only increase stress and inefficiencies. A great place to begin is by taking the CliftonStrengths assessment from Gallup and discovering what your top five strengths are and start connecting the dots between why you’re feeling burned out and the ways you’re not using your strengths.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

I’m really grateful for one of my mentors who saw my potential and believed in me when I was still inexperienced and wasn’t even sure what I was capable of doing. His encouragement and trust in me has given me the confidence to continue developing my talents and pursuing a career that gives me fulfillment.

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?

Delegation doesn’t come naturally to many people. But it’s so essential. Great leaders learn how to delegate. When it’s done right, delegation allows you to get your time back and unplug yourself from the day-to-day operation, so that you don’t have to work longer and harder. To be successful, scale with sustainable growth, and to stay focused on your natural talents and strengths, you need to learn to delegate (or outsource if you don’t have a team). You can do anything, but you can’t do everything. Delegation gives you leverage, so that you can focus on what’s really important. It allows you to get more done than you’d on your own.

Can you help articulate a few of the reasons why delegating is such a challenge for so many people?

There are a few common barriers to delegation:

“I can do it all.” — You struggle to let go of the holistic way in which you run your business. You’ve been operating as a ‘company of one’ since day one and accepting that the business might have outgrown your capacity (and potentially ability) comes as a shock to the system.

“I’ve been let down before.” — One bad experience with outsourcing tasks was enough to make up your mind. You’re convinced that nobody else can be trusted to work on your precious brand. That’s why you continue to complete every task yourself.

“It’s just quicker if I do it myself.” — You’re overwhelmed by the prospect of having to bring someone else up to speed on systems (or the lack of), processes, and DOs and DON’Ts. Wearing all the hats in your business means that there are no process maps. It’s all in your head!

“If I don’t do it, then I’m not worthy.” — You’re attaching value to every single task within your business. So letting go of tasks ultimately let go of specific value you add to your business. Someone else completing a task that used to be part of your daily routine makes you feel unimportant.

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?

The first step towards becoming an intentional leader within your own business is calling out the limiting mindsets that are holding you back from embracing delegation as your key to success. It all starts with self-awareness! Ask yourself, “what will happen if I delegate (good and bad)?”

It takes time and effort to shift your mindset from “no one can do this as well as I can” or “if I give this to someone else, they won’t meet the quality I’m looking for”, to “the right person can help me”.

The more you practice delegation, the better you’ll get. The rewards are worth it!

Remember, your self-worth is not equal to how much work you do. You can do less and achieve more. And doing less doesn’t mean that you’re less worthy or important.

Can you please share your “Five Things You Need To Know To Delegate Effectively and Be Completely Satisfied With the Results?” Please share a story or an example for each.

Decide what to delegate

Think about your areas of expertise where your skill set has a much greater impact than someone in your team or an outsourcer. Consider how delegating will make time for that. Also, calculate how much it’s costing you to do the task yourself. Let’s say your hourly rate is $100/hour. If it takes you 3 hours to maintain your website and update web content, that means it’s costing you $300. Isn’t it more cost effective to pay someone else $50–80/hour to take care of those tasks for you?

Delegate the right tasks to the right people

Failed delegation often happens when a task is assigned to the wrong person. For example, someone who struggles with numbers is not the right fit for the role that requires the person to work with detailed project budgets. When assigning a task, consider who has the talent and skills needed to complete the job. Evaluating your team’s strengths allows you to identify the right people to delegate the right tasks to.

Agree on expectations

Delegating is not just about asking someone to complete a piece of work. If it’s not done right, you’ll likely find yourself frustrated that the work doesn’t look like what you envisioned or you ended up doing too much of it yourself. Focus on results, not process. Paint the big picture and be clear on the desired outcome. Be sure to communicate clearly the five W’s — Who should be involved? What does success look like on this? When is the project/task due? Where to go for resources? Why does this work matter? And a little bit of “how to approach this work?”

Establish check-ins

Your job is not done yet, after handing off the task to your team member. Continue to engage with your team during the course of the project to monitor progress. Check in to get a sense of how the work is proceeding. Make sure tasks are on track and completed according to plan or the plan is adapted as needed.

Hold people accountable for the results

If something is not done right or missing in the end product, go back to your team member and address the problem in a direct and assertive, but not hostile manner. And when your team member is doing a good job, remember to complement, recognize the effort and celebrate the success! When a project ends, you and your team member should reflect on results, draw lessons learned and create accountability. You need your team to understand that you mean what you say.

One of the obstacles to proper delegating is the oft quoted cliche “If you want something done right do it yourself.” Is this saying true? Is it false? Is there a way to reconcile it with the importance of delegating?

False. We’ve limited time and energy, so we can’t possibly do everything ourselves. If you want to go far and have a sustainable growth, learn how to delegate effectively and with intentions. I’d say “If you want something done right, get the right person to do it!”

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. :-)

I think I’d start a strengths movement to help more people discover their strengths and use them to be more engaged at work and more productive in their roles, rather than focusing on fixing their weaknesses.

How can our readers further follow you online?

Check out my latest projects and content at my website https://thesette.co

You can also find me on Instagram: https://instagram.com/thesette.co

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film…

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Pop Culture, Wellness, Social Impact, and Tech. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

Jerome Knyszewski

Written by

CEO of HeavyShift

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Pop Culture, Wellness, Social Impact, and Tech. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

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