When mentioning the our track record of improving delegation and collaboration by 34% for 255 client companies worldwide and over 2000 individuals using Outlook or Notes looks of skepticism begin to appear.
These looks are understandable when you consider what passes for the definition of delegation and collaboration when you do a Google search. It seems the definition of delegation changes when you use software tools like Outlook and Notes.
The on line definition seems to me to be about directing individuals on my team on what to do when booking appointments. Let me give you an example. Pages of documents are written about sharing a calendar and how that is delegation. Sharing calendar information is an important key stroke event and works well for those that have to manage their commitments. That key stroke event of sharing a calendar does not generate as big an impact as the effective way to delegate a task in Outlook.
At this time you may be a bit confused. Adding to ones confusion is the understanding what is the real process or definition of delegation. The recap below may help to define what true delegation is and what the process of delegation is all about.
Here are three different views of what passes as the definition of delegation. The first view comes from the definition I call “Dumping.” Dumping usually occurs when the boss dumps way too much quantity of information out of a fire hose on to the dumped. It usually occurs rapidly while walking away and leaving behind some type of unexplained paperwork. Most of the time the person being dumped on has no idea what just happened.
The second view of delegation is “Direction.” Direction occurs when the boss directs a person about what do. In the communication process steps are assigned with a full description of what to, when to do it and where to do it. It is usually written out as in step one, step two and step three so on and so on. This is usually advisable to do with new employees. The issue is most bosses are still directing employees two to three years after someone is hired.
The next level is true “Delegation/Collaboration.” At our company we use both words together despite the fact they really involve different players. For instance Delegation is more top down boss to team member or employee. Collaboration is more across the team of an organization chart. Both definitions must use the process below to qualify as an effective way to get things done via leverage. Process of Delegation/Collaboration
Plan before you delegate ‘always think of how the team can help accomplish a job, focus on results when describing and paint a black and white picture let the one delegated to fill in the colors
Decide who to assign to – best person not closest or not the one that always gets it done ( do not reward incompetence)
Communicate in writing – always follow up if delegating by phone and don’t send an e-mail with out confirming dates and whether they truly understand the objectives Manage (follow-ups) and evaluate (on-going) peace of mind Reward- results that are recognized get repeated
How can these five process rules get managed using a tool box like Outlook? You start by meeting with those under your leadership or those in your team and begin to discuss the task request feature. You communicate to the team that everyone will make and use task request to delegate and track important assignments in the future. The great thing about this feature is that once the originator enters the delegation or collaboration into the form automatic e-mails keeps them updated on the status. This helps with open items and the follow up in step four above.
Below is an example of a delegated item using the process described earlier.
Subject: Update results from assessments
Now the great thing about task request is you get two checkmarks to fill in like the sample below
X Keep an updated copy of the task on my task list
X send me a status report when done
Jane: Use a spread sheet to compile the results from those that have taken the assessment on line for ABC Company. Also add to the list those that have not completed the assessment and send it off to the Jim Jones for him to review plus copy Mary Sue Smith and Bill Jones. The deadline for all of these to be completed was yesterday so ask the client for suggestions on getting all to complete this on time. This is part of the speech we are giving next month so the information will be needed for the slide show.
Our timeline is today; please notify me if this will not meet your schedule of if you have any questions.
At the bottom of the task request is a place for contacts and categories. Using this example the Category will say: March 15 2010 Speech and the Contact will be linked to Jim Jones
My clients tell me this prevents things from falling thorough the cracks. They can also easily track any open items. The end results is more of the right things are getting done by the right people at the right time, plain and simple that is what effective delegation /collaboration is all about.