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Delegation execution…

by | Sep 19, 2020 | Art Blakey, Delegation, execute

“Every time I give them something to do, I have to redo it. Spelling errors, grammar, all of it!”  Gently I suggested … “… you have trained them to do that”.  “OH no!  I am not a micromanager – I really support my people, and want to see them grown and develop!!”.   And “… you redo their work for them every time…. ”  And just to add emphasis … ” and they are now doing it on purpose.  Why spend the time checking it if they know you are going to…”.  The look of horror crystalized when I concluded with “… and this is how you develop a very weak team….”  Now they were REALLY angry … 

… “incomplete Delegation” or better called “Boomarang” Delegation is one of the most difficult (and most common) issues with getting work done by others.  The key to watch for is – what causes it to come back?  Is it that you had a particular way you wanted it done that you forgot to mention (methods of performance).  Or is it because they didn’t have enough skill to accomplish it?  Or most likely, you just wanted to do it, but that “voice” kept saying “I need to delegate…”  Either way, here it is back in your lap, with damage to your timeline, but more importantly, your direct report who will typically respond with “Fine” and silently “why should I try next time”.

You probably have heard this song before – it is one of THE classics in jazz and has been recorded by almost anyone you can imagine. Bobby Timmons is not well known, but was the author what we now call one of the “Top 17 Top Hard Pop” recordings. The song started as something that Timmons would play – between songs – a filler that would fill the time that Art would take to come out front and announce the next song, or simply provide an interlude.  It harkens back to classic roots in gospel – the call and response.  The first few notes… and then the response, and then again slightly different.  It is set up for a natural reaction from each player, and you will see everyone have chance to interpret it, before returning to playing it together.  Bobby would have never finished it without the encouragement of Benny in particular who thought it could be an important song… 

A key thing to focus on if you want to have better execution in Delegation is your own motivations.  Are you more focused on the Task – making sure it is done well, exactly as you like it… or developing the direct to be able to do it even better, and perhaps a different way?  I realize those are polar choices – on purpose – to focus you on which way you are leaning approaching this Delegation.  If it is critical to the success of the organization, your reputation, etc, maybe Delegate something else… or at least really make sure this goes well… 

… the clue is in the form of this song – Call… and Response.  You can’t lay out a huge composition – just a few notes of what is needed… and then look for the Response to hear what they have actually heard you say.  Continue this a few times until you can hear them “solo” a little…. and then build up their confidence with each successive measure.  Constant communication – as you see modeled here physically and in the music – that is what helps a great outcome.  What I find craters Delegation on both sides is LACK of communication.  A favorite technique, which the leader above was using was “Dump and Run” – tag your it! And then.. shock, shock, it isn’t at all what I needed…  Be honest… when you execute Delegation, do you end up with what you are looking for, or are you always… Moanin’

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