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Inefficient delegation

Delegating can be a beautiful thing. Why? Having one or more people with whom you can share tasks with is beautiful because for many business leaders, it represents a step in the direction of them being able to work on the business rather than solely or primarily in the business. But delegating is not always easy. Here's why.

Right up there with not wanting to take the time to train someone and the fear "no one can do it as well as I can," is the challenge of delegating well. What does it mean to delegate well? Two things. 
  •  First, it means clearly articulating the task and the desired outcomes of the activity or activities. 
  •  It also means empowering those being tasked with the abilities necessary to succeed at the task. 
Neither of these actions is addressed often enough, but each is critical to achieving delegation done well. While doing either or both may seem logical and intuitive, too many companies and their people are victims of overlooking one, the other or both. Consider this.
"Go do this" is a short but powerful phrase that, without context, could represent an insurmountable challenge. If "Go do this" represents "Get me spending information about the contract held by Company X at USDA," we dive into specific areas of knowledge someone must have to achieve the desired outcome. They would need to understand: 
  •  what "spending" looks like 
  •  how to interpret contract actions to include obligations and de-obligations 
  •  the function of contract numbers 
  •  the relationship of parent contract numbers 
  •  what resources will provide them the information they are seeking 
  •  the integrity of the resource used to acquire the information 
  •  how to use the resource or tool to achieve the result they seek 
This is often a challenge because many of the business leaders, executives and managers delegating these task, don't have any more context than those to whom they are delegating. This means they are of little help when "how to" questions arise. Another factor that presents a challenge is the fact we often believe requisite knowledge is conveyed through assignment of a role. In other words, when we dub someone as Business Development Manager, Business Development Analyst, or Chief Growth Officer, we tend to assume they know all they need in order to be successful in the role, regardless of their background. This is just one reason the Business Development process remains such a mystery to so many in Federal Contracting. We are not great at empowering our teams to achieve success in their roles, especially when we, the business leaders, don't have accurate and substantive understanding of how the Business Development Lifecycle sausage is truly made.

Productivity is a casualty of not delegating well. A lack of efficient productivity brings its own baggage in the form of: 
  •  not being able to achieve goals, 
  •  not being able to achieve goals in a timely fashion, and 
  •  an increased cost of doing business that impacts competitiveness and profitability. 
Delegation is a beautiful thing, but effective delegation requires investing in your people and processes, to maximize results. 
 Peace, Health, and Success, 
 Go-To-Guy Timberlake