Delegating Work: A Set of Reminders

October 28th, 2009   •   no comments   
Disappointments Usually a Function of Failed Communications

When I take on a project, even a little one, I want to make sure that my clients are going to be satisfied, delighted even: like the feeling you get when viewing the puffy cumulus clouds linger in a cerulean blue sky.  The “pot shot” methods of getting things done, which I see, makes me wonder how tasks and work is being delegated within the enterprise, hence, the inspiration for this post: we’ve got to get it right.

So, this is a review of productive methods for getting things done by asking others to do the actual work.  Yes, my clients are busy and, often, they trust me (it’s well placed, I might add).  But, it’s not enough.  We need to invest the time: I remember some wise man telling me years ago, disparaging management methods in the U.S.: “yeah, in America, we don’t have time to do it right…but we’ve got time to do it over.”  Well, I don’t like doing it over.

Since most delegations are the equivalent of a “rain dance” — a lot of moving around wiht the hope of something magical — it’s a good to remind ourselves of some productive methods.  These are simple but powerful techniques.  You can put them into three steps, even: three’s an easy number.

First, the task is set out: “I need you to figure out how we penetrate this new sales channel…” The next step (Step #2) is the discussion of the “why” (I deserve to know the reason) and the “how.”  As the one giving the task, I can lay out the motivation, the “why.”  As I see it anyway.

The “how” (Step 3) is where the person doing the work has a chance to invest him/herself.  Thist takes time and sounds something like this: “So, how do you think it would be best to go about doing this?”  What results is a give and take: “yes, good idea and how about some preliminary research?” 

In the end, (maybe Step 4, OMG!) there is the task, the purpose for doing it and an agreement on an outline of methods that should be reviewed and agreed upon.  “So, we want to  do _______, because it will _________, and you’re going to do x, y, z.”  Yes, it sounds a bit childish, as if we’re working with a toddler but…it’s not.  So, if you’re not interested in following some productive methods, you can always count on the probable option: doing it over.

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