“Opportunity is lying on the floor of every organization you walk into, just pick it up!”
-BG (Retired) Duke DeLuca
BD is the key to growing yourself and your organization.
No, I’m not talking about Business Development. I’m talking about Better Delegation.
Yes, delegation. The art of having someone else do something for you.
Sounds easy, right? Maybe.
I have been dealing with delegation my entire life. Mostly in organizations where I was either the “doer” or the “leader.” Growing up, I had chores. What started as “helping” my dad blow leaves or mow the lawn became him telling me, “Mow the lawn.” I would execute just as I had learned – angled lines and all.
As a freshman on the swim team, I was the doer. A senior on the team would say, “Plebes get the lane lines in,” and us plebes would jump in the pool and execute a task we had done all of our lives. Eventually, I was the senior, repeating the order, and plebes were repeating the task.
Even as a Platoon Leader in Iraq, I was handed a mission set, and with a talented, professionally trained team of 30 Soldiers, we would execute missions – day in and day out. I would delegate to the Platoon Sergeant and Squad Leaders, who would delegate to their team leaders and eventually down to their Soldiers. A well-oiled machine. But somewhere between mowing lawns, leading combat patrols to the complex project development, and the program management world I live in today, the “tasks” became a little more complicated.
Maybe it’s because the tasks aren’t tasks. They are stated as a problem. A “complaint” or “vision.” A “what if,” “future risk” or “desired outcome.” That’s not a task at all; that’s an idea. Idea’s need to be translated to projects, and then projects need to be translated to work plans. You see, we are constantly dealing with new problems and projects, not repeatable, assembly-line tasks. And we need to be able to teach our kids, our students and our team members the process of turning a “delegated project” into a work plan with iterative check-ins. We need to get away from “it’s easier to do it myself” and move towards a world of crawl-walk-run training and delegation. Processes and People are the paths to scaling – not overtasking ourselves.
At MCFA, we say that delegation is a two-way street. It’s on the delegator to communicate clearly and set expectations, and it’s on the delegated to ask clarifying questions, request resources, etc. While I don’t use it intentionally all of the time, a tool I have found that always reminds me that delegation is more complicated than just sending an email is this project delegation tool from Michael Hyatt & Co.
This tool might be the first step in defining a project, new internal process, new job description or better yet, realizing you are spinning circles with a bad idea or undefined project that you are blaming your team for “not getting,” when really you don’t get it.
And while Business Development is important, I guarantee Better Delegation is more critical to your growth as an individual, a leader and an organization.
Got a hot project to delegate? We can help.
BJ Kraemer, President