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The Art of Effective Delegation

Initial Draft By Meghan Stalker, VMD As Outlined After Listening to the Career Track CD-Rom On This Subject Edited by JF Wilson, DVM, JD

1) Make list of action items (or weaknesses) upon which you want to focus your attention as an emerging, effective delegator a. Circle the two things with which you want to start i. ii. Covey says it takes 3 weeks to change a habit After three weeks pick two more to implement

2) Understanding our role as leader a. Learn to manage your time which, in all likelihood, will require a change in thinking b. Definition of logistical success i. The ability to achieve the best results in the most efficient way

ii. If we do not get the MOST important things done, we are not being effective iii. Key to success = understanding priority management 1. Use Steven Coveys four quadrants of thinking, which means that all tasks to be done can be placed in four sections on a piece of paper a. Quadrant of crisis i. ii. Important, urgent, real Not a healthy place to live

iii. Logistical success = manage quadrant of crisis b. Quadrant of planning

i. What can I do today to prevent problems tomorrow ii. If manage quadrant of planning, minimize quadrant of crisis iii. Delegation is a quadrant of planning activity

c. Quadrant of deception i. Doing things that are urgent but not important = the stuff ii. Avoid by having a prioritized to do list. A to do list alone is not enough. iii. These things can often be delegated to someone else d. Quadrant of waste i. Not important, not urgent things

ii. E.g. looking for things you cannot find. Common if you are disorganized iii. Action step: get organized, increase the amount of time you have for accomplishing the important things iv. If you are unorganized you do not have time to delegate c. Action steps: i. Make a sign for your desk saying What can I do today that will prevent problems tomorrow? ii. Make a prioritized to do list

iii. Get organized - e.g. what can I do today to have an additional 45 minutes tomorrow iv. I will practice quadrant of planning thinking 1. Implement this into your daily thinking can do this by planning weekly (create a weekly prioritized to do list)

2. When do this will see big ticket items = the most important things that we need to get done become clear a. With those make an appointment with yourself on your calendar to do those things. If distractions come along, you then get to make a choice what is more important, someone elses ABC or planning for the big ticket item usually you will elect to plan for the big ticket item rather than the distraction which results in greater productivity b. Once you have established the big ticket items, take the rest of the items on your list and assign them a priority and assign them to daily to do lists i. You can do this as often as 2-3 times per day

ii. At a minimum, every evening stop and look at what you accomplished and what you did not accomplish. If you did not accomplish something ask yourself why. After make plan for what the high priority item will be for the next day. iii. Finally, review to see which of the tasks you can delegate to someone else - pick the person to whom you want the task delegated 1. When you delegate, make it clear to the person the benefit of taking this task on make them feel involved 2. NOTE: if you delegate, you must do so in a timely fashion do not place someone else into the quadrant of crisis this is part of treating your team well a. Have people whose emotional bank account is full do this by delegating appropriately and in a timely fashion 3) Involving the team a. Step one is to have a vision i. Vision is why we do what we do what is the benefit to the world at large because you do the work that you do

1. This is the big picture thinking 2. This is what you must communicate to your team vision is a powerful motivator b. Get input from the team i. Ask for input on goals, timelines, etc because everyone likes their own ideas best ii. Remember, they are not your goals, they are the team goals

iii. You can do this by placing people into small groups (b/c people work better in small groups and get them to list strengths, weaknesses, etc. and the compile the ideas as a larger group which can help you to 1. Identify tasks to accomplish a. People likely to have ownership of the ideas which translates into self-delegation (people ask to help/accomplish tasks) c. Identify the stakeholders i. Get as much buy-in as you can from each of these individuals who will be involved in helping carry out tasks 4) How do we get our teams to work effectively a. Talk to the team about the project plan i. First thing is to define the purpose of scope statement of the project 1. Key = verifiable and measurable information a. Budget, people, end-dates ii. Every project has 3 constraints 1. Time 2. Budget 3. Quality 4. As a project manager you have to determine which of these constraints is the most important this is the DRIVER you need to share this with the team


Describe your project objectives 1. Get the team to identify all the tasks that need to be accomplished in order to complete the project a. Then determine time lines for each of the tasks b. Then assign each of the tasks to individuals with the attached time lines c. This means the team played a role in the planning of the project 2. Talk about contingency plans with team what do we do if a problem arises?


Implement and follow up 1. Often we start with efforts to implement an idea or project and then wonder why something does not work 2. Have frequent meetings to assess how things are progressing a. Have daily, weekly meetings


Wrap up and celebrate successes 1. When you celebrate with your team you are putting deposits in the emotional bank account of those people

b. Learn from past mistakes i. At the end and along the way have wrap up or lessons learn meeting 1. This is not a blame game, this is the quadrant of waste 2. Quadrant of planning is what have we learned and what will we do differently the next time 5) Motivating people to help or do their fair share a. Motivation is things we cannot see (e.g. praise), this is different from incentive which is stuff (best parking space, etc) i. Praise should be detailed, but accurate, sincere, and regular

ii. This is especially key for people who do not report to you and who may have competing loyalties in doing work for multiple departments

1. If they work for someone else, you can often give complements to the individual but also copy their boss for an added bonus/deposit in the emotional bank account b. Once motivation is in place, that is when incentives really work i. Note: people usually do not work harder for you AFTER they have received the incentives, but motivated people who receive incentives for working hard in the future often are appreciative and it has a truly positive impact ii. The mistake we often make is that we try to provide incentives where there is no motivation these efforts often fall flat iii. Action point: make a sign on your desk that says APPRECIATE

c. Give people the authority that they need i. How much is often not important, what is important is to be clear and consistent about how much authority they have 1. E.g. here is the budget spend it as you see fit the only time I need you to talk to me is if it look like we will be going over d. Give credit i. Sometimes we like to keep the credit for ourselves but we as leaders are only as good as the people that we lead ii. When you give credit you put huge deposits in the emotional bank account e. Hold people accountable i. If you do not hold individuals accountable you are communicating to the rest of your team that the individual who is breaking or has broken the rule is more important than everyone else ii. If you hold people accountable, people will respect you more

iii. Do not praise and hold people accountable in the same sentence. They should be done at separate times. f. Know the strengths and weaknesses of your team members i. ii. Help them develop their strengths and delegate accordingly Let the team be aware of everyones strengths

g. Use the benefit formula i. Let them see the benefit that is being provided to them by doing particular tasks when someone sees the benefit they are more likely to do it 6) This all sounds like a lot of work, are we just better off to do the work ourselves? a. If you want to be logistically successful you must delegate appropriately b. Four reasons why people do not like to delegate i. They might do it wrong, therefore, we have to teach them how to do it right 1. Big mistake we delegate the task person does it wrong leader takes it back and fixes it without telling the other person it was done wrong a. Worse is to continue to give the task to your right hand person problem is that if do this over and over again that person becomes overloaded and you are downplaying other members of the team this is a withdrawal from the emotional bank account b. What you should do is tell the person i. Showing someone how to do it right is a quadrant of planning activity in the long term this is a valuable investment you increase the number of people to whom you can delegate and who will do a good job which, in turn, increases your efficiency c. Sometimes people will deliberately do tasks wrong so they avoid having things delegated to them these people will be readily identified in this system and they can/must be dealt with accordingly ii. If we delegate too much, we might lose control of the project and, perhaps, our job 1. As a leader/manager you are responsible for making sure the tasks on your list are completed by someone, hopefully, not just you

a. Make a spreadsheet of all the tasks you have delegated or use the one created as a complement to this document i. ii. Column 1 defines the task Column 2 states the date due

iii. Column 3 stipulates which person(people) is/are responsible iv. Column 4 is a flexible one that updates the status of task v. Column 5 leaves space for notes to the parties who are working on the task b. Have the spreadsheet open on your computer all day long so you can place tasks on it and fill in the other columns as they come to your mind. c. Being able to record them, and get them out of your actively engaged brain, helps you concentrate on the task upon which you are working d. Review the spreadsheet frequently, especially at the beginning of each day, to see if you are always delegating tasks or particular kinds of tasks to the same people iii. It takes too much time to teach them/I can do it faster myself 1. On occasion this is o.k. as sometimes this can be true 2. However, when we are looking at the task, we need to decide if it is worth the time that will be invested or required to delegate it and assure that it gets done a. E.g. making a meeting agenda if it takes us one hour per week but teaching someone else will take three hours after three weeks I as the leader start gaining an hour a week. In this case, the three hour investment is a quadrant of planning activity 3. If you continue to do it yourself this becomes cumulative and you get yourself into trouble by always feeling overwhelmed

7) Types of people a. People that you do not trust the one who you ask to have a project accomplished by noon on Friday and they call in sick Friday morning leaving you in the quadrant of crisis i. Delegate the task 1. I need A by 10 oclock, B by noon and C by 3 oclock 2. Over time, if they come through, this increases trust and you can say I need AB by noon and CD by 4 oclock ii. Benefit is that you have to develop these people on your team, too, or you will never be an effective delegator or leader b. Person that you trust the one who always gets it done i. Delegate the project or request 1. Harriet I need this done by noon on Friday and it will be done 8) Overall steps to successful delegation quadrant of planning thinking a. Think through the decision i. Go back to the to do list 1. Which tasks should I delegate b. Think through the training needs i. Who can do it, what kind of skills might they need

c. Continue to supply the resources i. You need to make yourself available to your people at the most important times they need access to your instruction ii. Formalize this by making appointments with your underlings or teammates ask them to draft their questions ahead of time 1. Help them to see the pitfalls, learn from your mistakes, how to deal with different departments and personalities in the organization iii. Be flexible

1. If they are doing it differently than you would but still getting to the bottom line this is o.k. everything does not have to be done your way d. Follow up with your spreadsheet to make sure the tasks you are delegating are being done as you have planned them

The CD from which the basic outline of this document was established can be found on It is entitled How to Manage Projects and Priorities Using
Effective Delegation Skills and can be purchased for $199.