Using Effective Delegation
The ability to progress and rise to higher positions and areas of responsibility for every manager is based on your success in advancing the mission and expectations of the company. More specifically, for managers of business units, the ability to get things done and carry out your responsibilities by managing the work of your team will be judged. That said, what are the key skills and abilities that have the greatest impact on getting work done through others?
One of the most critical is the ability to plan and execute projects and assignments to reach the objective quickly and better than expected. In this area of skill, it all starts with the managers ability to quickly brainstorm and create a plan of action to most effectively utilize the managers resources. One key to the construction of the project action plan is to define the “Cornerstone” areas that make up the high level activities. Each cornerstone is a bundle of narrow action steps that are needed to carry out the over-all plan.
As an example, suppose your over-all objective might be to develop an added service to an existing product and roll it out as quickly as possible. In this example, your cornerstones might be 1) Product Development, 2) Marketing, 3) Training and 4) Technology. Each of these cornerstones will have a series of steps or actions that must be completed by a certain date for the over-all goal to be reached. the manager may lead each area or have a project manager for each. Employees need to be assigned to one or more cornerstones and a time-table for each step needs to be identified.
Once the Cornerstones have been identified, a list of time-lines for each action step and members of the team assigned, the next step is to determine “Resources”. What specific resources will be needed for each set of project Cornerstones. What is the budget and how should it be allocated to resources? Where will the resources come from and who should be assigned to line them up? Will the action step timetable be in sync with the availability of resources? Will outside resources be needed? A critical factor is the time-line availability of resources. If they are not available when needed for any action step the project can be delayed. Think the timing issue through.
A final step that is often over-looked is the “inter-dependencies” between Cornerstone Action Steps. The manager should look at the over-all Action Plan and determine which steps are “dependent” on another action being completed across cornerstones. For example, if an action one cornerstone must be completed before an action in another cornerstone can start, the timing of these two steps need to be coordinated. In additon, as the project plan is being executed, the manager must carefully track the Action steps on which other steps depend. Stay on top of these steps and make sure they are completed on time to avoid any project delays.
These specific skills and techniques for developing and executing a project plan are core competencies for successful delegation and work execution. This is a process and is not complicated. That said, these steps are often over-looked by managers in a rush or who feel like they can just wing it. The results show where the Project Action Plan has not be thoroughly developed with Cornerstone project sub-sets defined, action steps laid out on a timetable, the right people assigned, resources identified and inter-dependencies coordinated. It is very important so why not take the small amount of added time to develop a completed action plan?
Michael D. Moore, executive coach and author of the e-books, “Management By Delegation” and “Delegating Through the Lens of the Employee”, leads the Plan-Delegate-Manage organization bringing real world experience and proven skills and tools to managers world wide. A veteran Insurance & Banking executive, Mike brings 40+ years of proven experience in building high performance teams and managers.
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