“Why won’t people at my company take responsibility for getting things done?
Seriously, if I don’t do it myself, it’ll never get done. I don’t know what they do all day but they don’t spend time getting done what I want them to, especially when it comes to important projects.”
This is a standard complaint I get from frustrated owners. And I get it. But, these owners never seek to change their method so they keep getting the same result but only more frustrated as time goes on.
The definition of insanity: Doing the same things over and over expecting different results.
Here’s the sad fact. You’ve trained your staff that if they don’t do what you want the way you want you’ll lose your mind and take the project back. And that is training them to NOT take responsibility or action because you’ll never be pleased with what they do anyway.
When you’re done complaining privately or publicly or both, you take back these projects and things that need to get done at your company so you remain overloaded. Am I right?
I know why you stopped delegating anything to anyone and it’s because you’ve been trained by your staff that it’s a waste of time and money to do so.
This used to happen to me at my company. Keep in mind we had grown to 70 employees and still no one was able to help me get things done. I blamed them. But, the problem was actually me.
I never took the time to delegate anything to anyone properly because I was in too big of a rush and I assumed they were too. So, I dumped it on them vs. delegating it to them.
What’s the difference?
Delegation is a process that gets things handled on the front end vs. dumping which is no process other than possibly a passing conversation in the hallway. That means too little information is delivered in a poor way, which typically ends up in having to mop up the mess on the backend.
Delegating properly is what will keep you sane and your staff too. I created a one-page form that I put on a clipboard and waited for something that needed to get done and looked for an opportunity to delegate properly. I called it the Steps of Delegation.
These are the following key things that comprise the Steps of Delegation:
- Here’s what needs to get done
- Here’s why it needs to get done
- Here’s what you have available to get it done
- There’s a priority assigned to it
- Here’s when it needs to be done by
- The meeting schedule for checking on the progress being made.
- What rewards and consequences are there
The trick is that I learned to know what I really wanted before I asked for their help. And by writing it out with each of them following the above bullets we literally and figuratively got on the same page.
Let’s unpack this a little more with the example of beginning to take control of your warehouse:
Here’s what needs to get done:
Clean the warehouse and lock the entrance so only the Warehouse Manager has access and Techs have to come to the entrance for parts.
Here’s why it needs to get done:
If the warehouse is a mess we never know what we have in stock, the condition of that stock and what we’re missing. If the gate is always open and everyone has access there’s no way to keep inventory secure and at the right levels that are not too high or too low
Here’s what you have available to get it done:
You have full access to the Warehouse Manager and an Apprentice this month and there’s a budget of $1,000.00 to get all the right shelving and bins if they’re missing or required
Here’s the priority assigned to it:
It’s a 2 out of 5 on a scale of 1 to 5 where 1 is super urgent and 5 is when we get around to it
Here’s when it needs to be done:
This project needs to be completed with 30 days of completing this form with me today: ___________
The meeting schedule for checking on the progress being made.
We’ll be meeting every Wednesday at 10 AM for 30 minutes to review your progress
Here are the rewards and consequences:
There’s a one-time special bonus of $500.00 for bringing this project in on time and on budget
Name: _____________________ Signature:_______________________
Let’s role play this a little to work through the typical hiccups that can arise.
At the first weekly meeting, you ask the person you delegated this to for a progress report as you tour the warehouse together and they say something like, “I wasn’t able to work on it this week because the Apprentice was on vacation.”
Your reply needs to go something like this, “Understood. Now, you have three weeks remaining. How do you plan to catch up?”
Usually, this gets a stunned response because in the past they figure you’d take the project back but this time you’re not and you’re not willing to push the deadline. That means they need to think and act and know there is accountability when a project is assigned through the Steps of Delegation. More times than not, they’ll figure it out and get it done. On the rare occasion that they don’t, you can use it as a teaching moment.
At my Zoom Drain Franchise, we have a model shop in Philadelphia. The staff doesn’t like getting projects delegated to them…..they LOVE IT!! They love it because it’s their chance to make a positive impact at the company. And they know that if they do well they’re automatically earning their way to the next higher rung on the corporate ladder. At this great company, as well as the others I’ve been privileged to work at, you move up and make more money because you’re always proving you can get things done, done right and done on time.
HAND THINGS OFF but do it in the only sane way there is and that’s the Steps of Delegation.