You know that whatever your professional goals, you can’t achieve them alone. You need a team. The definition of ‘scalable’ in a human is the ability to successfully find, delegate to and manage great teams.
Here’s Stephen Covey’s exceptionally clear and useful recipe for delegation from Seven Habits for Highly Effective People. As Covey defines it, “delegating involves clear, up-front mutual understanding and commitment in five areas.” Here are the five:
- Desired results: create a clear mutual understanding of what needs to be accomplished, focusing on what, not how; on results, not methods. Be patient. Be sure the other person understands and sees the same thing.
- Guidelines: set parameters; warn your person of ‘failure paths’, of what you know they should not do
- Resources: Talk through the human, financial, technical or organizational resources the person can/should draw on to accomplish the desired results
- Accountability: Set up the standards of performance that will be used in evaluating the results, and the specific time when reporting and evaluation will take place
- Consequences: Specify what will happen, good and bad, as a result of the evaluation
Covey’s model is a great one. It will change your management life. If you’re craving more, here are a couple of valuable additional points from speech acts theory. When you are making a request:
- You and the other person must have a shared ‘background of obviousness’, meaning the same vocabulary/culture. Ask for ‘Ruby skills’ at a jeweler or at GitHub and you’ll get totally different things.
- Assumed competence – Only ask people to do things you know they can do. Don’t ask your 24 year old intern to stand in for you in a presentation to your CEO.
- Your jobs as the requestor: This is important. You must actually want what you ask for. And you must be satisfied when your agreed conditions for satisfaction are met. If you’re not satisfied when someone gives you exactly what you said you wanted, you’re either very sloppy or you’re just being a jerk. And no one will enjoy working for you.
When you learn how to delegate well, you can solve bigger problems, deliver bigger solutions, and create great things! Learn and prosper!
Communication is the essential last mile in finding and motivating the right teams, acquiring strong allies, powerfully bonding with customers, and capturing mindshare with compelling stories. Nothing will serve you and your vision better than developing exceptional communication skills.