History lessons: Delegate to accumulate - The Kray twins

The Krays started out in the '50s, running protection rackets from a dingy snooker hall in east London.

Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

Through a mixture of robbery and violence, they acquired a small empire of London clubs and properties and, in a clever bit of brand positioning, became a visible part of the 'swinging Sixties' scene, hanging out with the likes of Diana Dors and David Bailey. They kept their hands dirty with the day-to-day running of their criminal empire - personally murdering their enemies, George Cornell and Jack 'the Hat' McVitie. Less blood-thirsty entrepreneurs often fall at the same hurdle: despite employing a large number of staff, they find it hard to let go of the day-to-day stuff and concentrate on the bigger picture. For the Krays, poor delegation caused their downfall. Sentenced to life imprisonment, their empire quickly collapsed. You may be rubbing out rivals on a metaphorical level, but the lesson still stands: if you want to build a lasting empire, employ people you can trust and let them to do their job.

Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime

Is it favouritism to protect an employee no one likes?

The Dominic Cummings affair shows the dangers of double standards, but it’s also true that...

Masterclass: Communicating in a crisis

In this video, Moneypenny CEO Joanna Swash and Hill+Knowlton Strategies UK CEO Simon Whitehead discuss...

Remote working forever? No thanks

EKM's CEO Antony Chesworth has had no problems working from home, but he has no...

5 rules for work-at-home productivity

And how to focus when focusing feels impossible.

Scandal management lessons from Dominic Cummings

The PR industry offers its take on the PM’s svengali.

Why emails cause conflict

And what you can do about it.