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Chapter 7. Who's Gonna Do the Work? > Delegation Dynamics - Pg. 82

Who's Gonna Do the Work? 82 Tailor the way you present the assignment to the preferences of the person to whom you're dele- gating. Some people like to have responsibilities spelled out explicitly, perhaps in the form of a written list of items. Others prefer simple, concise instructions. Some people prefer e-mail, and others would rather have you delegate in person. Understanding Is Not Enough! Instructions must be not only understood but also accepted by your associate. Suppose that on Tuesday morning, Janet, the office manager, gives an assignment to Jeremy with a deadline of 3:30 that afternoon. Jeremy looks at the amount of work involved and says to himself, "No way." It's unlikely that he will meet that deadline. To gain acceptance, let the team member know the importance of the work and get him or her into the act. Janet might say, "Jeremy, this report is needed for an early morning meeting of the executive committee. When do you think I can have it?" Jeremy may think, "This is important. If I skip my break and don't call my girlfriend, I can have it by 5 P.M .." Why did Janet originally indicate that she wanted the report by 3:30 P.M . when she didn't need it until the following morning? Maybe she thought that if she said 3:30 P.M ., Jeremy will would knock himself out and finish it by the end of the day. But most people don't react that way. Faced with what they consider to be an unreasonable deadline, most people won't even try. By letting people set their own schedules within reasonable limits, you get their full commitment to meeting or beating a dead- line. But suppose that Janet really did need to have that report by 3:30 P.M ., so that it could be proofread, photocopied, collated, and bound. To get the report completed on time, she may have had to assign someone to help Jeremy or allowed him to work overtime so that the report would be ready for the early morning delivery. Control Points: Your Safeguard Set control points at strategic times during the work on a project. This will help you catch errors before they blow up into catastrophes. Heads Up! Be realistic when you assign deadlines. Don't make a practice of asking for projects to be completed earlier than you need them. They won't be. Team members will stop taking your deadlines seriously. A control point is not a surprise inspection. Team members should know exactly when each control point is established and what should be accomplished by then. Suppose that Gary, a team leader, gives a project to Kim on Monday morning. The deadline is the following Friday at 3 P.M. They agree that the first control point will be Tuesday at 4 P.M., at which time Kim should have completed parts A and B. Note that Kim knows exactly what and when. When Gary and Kim meet on Tuesday, they find several errors in part B. That's not good, but it's not terrible. The errors can be corrected before the work continues. If Gary and Kim had not scheduled a control point, the errors would have been perpetuated throughout the entire project.