Forum

  • If you are new to these Forums, please take a moment to register using the fields above.

Announcement

Announcement Module
Collapse
No announcement yet.

Delegate: tips and tricks to share

Page Title Module
Move Remove Collapse
X
Conversation Detail Module
Collapse
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Delegate: tips and tricks to share

    I'm a newcomer here. I'm a top manager of a mid-size company with lots of projects, people and goals under my control. I have to delegate. I trust my people 100% but want to track them at least weekly to make sure we are moving constantly in the right direction.

    I think that a flat list (like a project list) would suit me as I need to see what project was delegated, when is the deadline (that could go into my calendar though), and whom that project was delegated to. I think there's no need to hold a project plan in that list or in my support materials trusting that project fulfillment to my team's member. Should that project belong to my project list or projects delegated list (a separate one)?

    Let's share any tips and tricks on delegation: what, when, how?

  • #2
    Going by the book, you'd put delegated things on a 'waiting for' list, which gets reviewed weekly. With a lot of delegating a 'waiting for' project list sounds like a good idea. I'll have to remember that.

    Comment


    • #3
      Can you clarify for me the outcome that you want? And what is the outcome of the weekly interaction you want to have with your staff?

      Comment


      • #4
        OK, here're details. I have 4 direct reports, each of them has more then 20 people reporting to them. So I have 80 all in all reporting indirectly to me.

        People have a tendency to forget things that were delegated to them. To be on course I would like to have regular meetings with direct reports (let's say twice per month) to make sure no projects were dropped or stopped during that time frame for no reason. My outcome of the meeting is to control all the projects are still there (at least the projects that were delegated directly by me to my direct reports, in the best case all of the projects under them as well) on my team's plate and all of them running.

        If I do it with Waiting For list that's not the case as I don't wait from any of them to start my action. So it's more like delegating of a project not a task. Anyway it could end up to be 800 delegated projects (if we count indirect reports) and could blow up any mind

        Any ideas of how can I improve that outcome?

        Comment


        • #5
          Fire your direct reports.

          Originally posted by Pav View Post
          OK, here're details. I have 4 direct reports, each of them has more then 20 people reporting to them. So I have 80 all in all reporting indirectly to me.
          (...)
          If I do it with Waiting For list that's not the case as I don't wait from any of them to start my action. So it's more like delegating of a project not a task. Anyway it could end up to be 800 delegated projects (if we count indirect reports) and could blow up any mind
          Fire your direct reports. You do not need them since you don't use them. I think you don't believe them. You are micromanaging all the direct reports of your direct reports. It must blow up your mind.

          In my opinion you should delegate projects to your direct reports only and allow them to manage their people. And keep them accountable for meeting deadlines by their direct reports.

          Comment


          • #6
            My outcome of the meeting is to control all the projects are still there
            This is too vague.

            People have a tendency to forget things that were delegated to them. To be on course I would like to have regular meetings with direct reports (let's say twice per month) to make sure no projects were dropped or stopped during that time frame for no reason.
            This is nice and specific. Well done.

            One of the realities managers face is that they can't do their employees' work for them. You could probably use Waiting For to remember everything you don't want your employees to forget, but that would be massively counterproductive. On the other hand, managers are responsible for the deliverable, and so bear the burden of everything their employees fail to do. So your plan has to involve creating a self-perpetuating process by which your employees don't forget their specific responsibilities, don't drop projects, and don't do anything to stop projects from moving forward toward completion.

            I'm assuming that this is problem you're trying to solve: right now, employees are forgetting their responsibilities, dropping projects, and projects are stopping. If this isn't the problem, I'd spend some time defining the problem more precisely.

            The main vehicle you're contemplating for making this happen is a biweekly meeting with your four direct reports. I think this is a good starting point for testing a solution, but I'd encourage you to keep an open mind and contemplate other solutions, and to continually interrogate yourself: is this solution working or not? How is it failing? What changes can I make to address the failures? It may be, for example, if this is a hair-on-fire problem, that you need to have a DAILY meeting with your four direct reports. On the other hand, if things are basically working well, a more relaxed touch-base-every-two-weeks meeting schedule is perfect.

            But the most important goal you have is to get buy-in from your four direct reports regarding the outcome you're after: less forgetting, no dropping, no stopping; keep projects moving forward. Some questions for you to ask them: how are our people remembering their responsibilities? why are they forgetting them? why are projects stopping?

            Ultimately, your employees are going to have to find a way of remembering what they're responsible for. It sounds like there may be a lack of connection right now between their forgetting and the consequences of their forgetting. This might be the right place to intervene: a frequent, regular, systematic review by each report and his or her 20 employees of their reponsibilities, progress toward meeting responsibilities, and action-oriented behaviors to pick up dropped balls.

            Putting a metric in place will help enormously (what gets measured gets managed): how many balls got dropped yesterday? this week? since our last biweekly meeting? when and how did your direct reports intervene? what proactive steps did they take to keep it from happening again. This kind of review will quickly show patterns and clarify the underlying problems.

            With this in mind, GTD can help you by reminding you of the outcome and the steps of the plan. I'd put together an @agenda checklist for each meeting with each direct report. The checklist would contain each step of the plan: what specifically has gotten forgotten? did we move forward on each project as planned? in what ways did we not move forward? is the process working, and if not, what specific next actions do we need to take to move us toward the outcome we want? And so forth.

            If the problem is that YOU can't remember where each project is, who it's delegated to, what deadlines need to be observed and anticipated, then I think setting up a checklist of these questions for daily review, by Project, is a simple method. I know from your other posts that you spend an enormous amount of time in meetings, so it may be difficult to review at daily intervals. But if the problem is that your 80 people are forgetting important responsibilities, then your first task is to set up a review process that catches forgotten tasks frequently enough to stop the cascade of resulting problems. First, you review what you need to keep track of; then, your direct reports give you the data you need; then you and they lock onto specific failures among your 80 people and work out systems for preventing those failures. Repeat as frequently as necessary -- is biweekly frequently enough?

            Sometimes an item on a Waiting For list is not enough. I'm in a similar position to you, although with fewer people under me, and I find that items on the Waiting For list tend to float in a context-less zone that doesn't trigger my own Next Action specifically enough. I use checklists constantly to re-orient myself about where I am in the sequential chain of next actions that are moving me forward toward my desired outcome in each project. So, a typical item on my Waiting For list might be something like this: "Wait for materials quote from Clarissa on ceiling trim, then review trim checklist before ordering." The checklist grounds me in action.

            Helpful? Where is your system failing you?

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Pav View Post
              My outcome of the meeting is to control all the projects are still there (at least the projects that were delegated directly by me to my direct reports, in the best case all of the projects under them as well) on my team's plate and all of them running.
              I thought you said you trusted your direct reports? It sure doesn't sound like it.

              Hold them responsible for results. Let them manage the details. That's what they're paid to do. Your job is to make sure they have the skills and other resources they need, and then get out of the way.

              If the problem is that they *aren't* managing the details -- things are getting dropped -- then your job is to figure out why not and how to fix it, not to simply take over the management for them.

              Katherine
              Last edited by kewms; 05-09-2009, 07:31 PM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Ideas for delegating

                Tip #1) According to David Allen, BY FAR the best way to delegate is by EMAIL.

                In the case of a task, it is very easy "Mary, I need you to take a copy of the company directory to the new intern sometime today. Please let me know if you will be unable to do this. Thanks!"

                In the case of a project, you have to define what the outcome is "Wouldn't it be great if...." and your standards "I would give carte blanche to someone to do this project so long as they did... and did not do..."

                Here is an example:
                "Mary, we need someone to reorganize the office supplies closets before the end of May. I would like you to do this. They look really cluttered. We need the water cooler closer to the doors. Other than that, just organize them in a way that is intuitive and tidy. Also, we'd like the supplies to look less crammed together--aesthetically and also so that new supplies can fit in there without having to move things around. There are extra shelving units in the old conference room if you need them. Do not use the plastic shelves, though, please, and do not let this project keep you from getting your orders entered the same day, like always. If it takes more than two days, let me know so we can get you some help. Also, please let me know when it's finished so we can stock up the new supplies. Thanks!"

                Of course, the projects you delegate may require an initial meeting, at least, to allow for conversation. However, after that, you can often ask, for instance, what they anticipate having done by a given date. Then, write "email re: status of ABCD" on your calendar (day-specific). The email can be as simple as asking if the planned steps were completed, as well as what may be completed by the (next date).

                Hope this helps,
                JohnV474

                Comment


                • #9
                  Specify the hour.

                  Originally posted by JohnV474 View Post
                  In the case of a task, it is very easy "Mary, I need you to take a copy of the company directory to the new intern sometime today. Please let me know if you will be unable to do this. Thanks!"
                  From my experience: Specify the exact hour you want the task to be done. Instead of writing "sometime today" use "today not later than 3pm". It works better!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Great ideas! In my experience email doesn't always work for delegating of the tasks that needs to be done today as the person may not see it. As for projects, I believe that requires a meeting to be delegated to go through purpose, vision and maybe brainstorming phases all together to jump start.

                    As about firing my direct reports, I can dispute. Should everybody be responsible for projects and tasks there would be no need in top managers Just give them a goal and then go for a one year rest at Bahamas. Then turn back at the end of the year to collect your bonus and set new goals for the next year Any other ideas on what should be done and controlled by a top manager?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Pav, a couple of thoughts, from a similar experience in a past job (6 directs x 70-100 indirects)

                      The likely reality is that a majority of delegated projects are getting done. Try to focus on the trends, what and why are certain things getting dropped.

                      Possibly structure your w/f list by who you delegate the item too then use it as a checklist/agenda in you bi-weekly meetings or as a tickler for email follow up

                      Then you are basically teaching and re-enforcing good behavior. If certain things tend to blow up or certain individuals allow things to blow up maybe more frequent touch base conversations, emails could occur. Also educate your directs to raise the flag if they feel a project is stalled or dropped.

                      Also, if a large number of things are not getting done or are getting dropped ask yourself and your directs; why are we doing this. Also consider scheduling other time to conduct your touch base on certain high profile projects outside of these bi-weekly status meetings.

                      One tendency to avoid - try not to force GTD on them. It probably won't work. They need to want to do it and see a interior motivation to do so.

                      Dave

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I second Dave's advice about not forcing GTD on your people. People buy in more completely if they're free to achieve goals their own way.

                        (1) Keep them focused on specific outcomes
                        (2) Address failures in implementation frequently and aggressively
                        (3) Learn and discuss explicit, task-oriented lessons from methods that work

                        Pav, what have you done up to this point to address the problem you described: people forgetting their responsibilities, projects getting stopped. What's your plan? How are you moving toward the desired outcome today?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Use you direct reports!

                          Originally posted by Pav View Post
                          As about firing my direct reports, I can dispute. Should everybody be responsible for projects and tasks there would be no need in top managers Just give them a goal and then go for a one year rest at Bahamas. Then turn back at the end of the year to collect your bonus and set new goals for the next year Any other ideas on what should be done and controlled by a top manager?
                          I think my comment was not clear enough. My point is: You are not using your direct reports appropriately. You are doing their work.

                          As I understand the structure of your division is following:
                          [you]
                          - [your-direct-report-1]
                          --- [your-direct-report-1-direct-report-01]
                          --- [your-direct-report-1-direct-report-02]
                          ...
                          --- [your-direct-report-1-direct-report-20]
                          - [your-direct-report-2]
                          --- [your-direct-report-2-direct-report-01]
                          --- [your-direct-report-2-direct-report-02]
                          ...
                          --- [your-direct-report-2-direct-report-20]
                          - [your-direct-report-3]
                          --- [your-direct-report-3-direct-report-01]
                          --- [your-direct-report-3-direct-report-02]
                          ...
                          --- [your-direct-report-3-direct-report-20]
                          - [your-direct-report-4]
                          --- [your-direct-report-4-direct-report-01]
                          --- [your-direct-report-4-direct-report-02]
                          ...
                          --- [your-direct-report-4-direct-report-20]

                          Your responsibility is to delegate each project to one of your direct reports and make them responsible for meeting deadline and quality standards.

                          Your direct report should delegate this project to one or more of their direct reports.

                          That's it.

                          If you are trying to manage over your direct reports you make them obsolete so you should fire them to reduce costs.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Pav View Post
                            OK, here're details. I have 4 direct reports, each of them has more then 20 people reporting to them. So I have 80 all in all reporting indirectly to me.
                            Why do you care about the 20 people below your direct reports?

                            If your direct folks are doing their jobs you shouldn't really need to worry abut the bottom folks. Sounds like you either need better middle management or get rid of them entirely.

                            Perhaps a more regular (weekly, daily? you decide but certainly sooner than 2 weeks) meeting with each of your 4 direct folks is really the place to start. And make them accountable for the actions of their team. But don't tell them how to manage their team just the results you need and let them figure out the best way to get those results.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Oogiem View Post
                              Perhaps a more regular (weekly, daily? you decide but certainly sooner than 2 weeks) meeting with each of your 4 direct folks is really the place to start. And make them accountable for the actions of their team. But don't tell them how to manage their team just the results you need and let them figure out the best way to get those results.
                              I'm in agreement with Oogiem. Maybe you should start with more frequent meetings with your direct reports, at least until you can better judge their capabilities and are more confident in the validity of any success metrics you are putting into place.

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X