Jon Pratlett

Jon Pratlett has over two decades of experience, coupled with extensive study and on the ground action, supporting leaders and their teams steward their organisations to transform to their desired state.


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Jon at the Hawaii Ironman Triathlon 2000 World Championships - 3.8k Swim, 180k Bike & 42k Run.

« Effective Delegation. Doing More With Less. Part 2 | Main | Hussle Not Hassle - A World of Difference »

Effective Delegation - Doing More With Less. Part 1

Today, our ability to ‘do more with less’, covers all aspects of business and life. Examples abound. How much was a mobile phone 15 years ago and what did you get? A very expensive (many thousands of dollars) mobile (brick) phone. Today we go into a store to buy a mobile phone and walk out with, say an iphone, that gives us an address book, calendar, calculator, camera, email, world clock, stopwatch, notepad, Dictaphone, music player, photo album plus, plus, plus! And it fits in the palm of our hand!

In business, ignoring technology for now, leaders, managers, supervisors and team leaders each day have the opportunity to do ‘more with less’ in many ways, one of which is through effectively delegating or assigning tasks to others. The key here though is the word effectively.

How often have you said or heard ‘If you want a job done well, do it yourself!’ I don't have accurate statistics, but I'm sure you and I can both come up with a multitude of examples of where resources, time, materials, money, effort etc. are wasted due apparently to people's inability to follow instructions.

The reality however, in my experience, after nearly 2 decades of leadership training and development with many of Australia’s top companies, is that more often than not leaders are very poor at delegation. Tasks are often assigned on the fly, with little fore-thought, plenty of assumptions and a lack of opportunity for the person being given the task to clarify and confirm their commitment to it. (Even if the appropriate person was picked for the task).

Today we will cover a 6 step formula, that will greatly enhance your ability to do ‘more with less’ through others. Here we deal with Part 1 – Preparation for Task Assignment/Delegation

This was originally developed by Elliott Jacques (see his books Executive Leadership or Requisite Organisation).

So, to save you time, money, frustration, re-work and conflict and provide opportunities for your people to get to work, feel trusted to use their discretion and succeed - in other words everybody ‘Doing More with Less’ I suggest you do the following:

Before delegating/assigning a task consider and answer the following questions carefully –

Step 1 - Purpose? - What do I want/need the end result to be?

Step 2 - Context? - Why do I want/need it? How does this integrate with other tasks in this and

other areas of the business. Who needs liasing with?

Step 3 - Quantity? - How many do I want/need?

Step 4 - Quality? - To what standard, format, finish?

Step 5 - Resources? – What am I making available for this to happen? (Equipment, budget, support, guidelines, people, time, limits, authority)

Step 6 - Time to Completion? – When specifically do I need it? When do I want progress updates? How do I want them?

Once thought through, chances are, you will be surprised at what you might not have considered as well as who are the most appropriate candidates for the task. You will achieve significantly ‘more with less’ by just applying Part 1 above – Planning.

As the saying goes ‘Proper, Prior, Planning, Prevents, Piss, Poor, Performance and whole lot else!

Taking ‘doing more with less’ to a whole other level will be Parts 2, 3 and 4 Assigning the Task’ - which will be the subject of my upcoming blog posts, and will cover:

- How to communicate the above and to whom.

- Creating the conditions that provide the greatest probability for successful delegation/assignment

- Gaining clarity, commitment, engagement and accountability?

 In the meantime, your comments and questions are invited.

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