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 How to Dramatically Improve Delegation Results

Harvard Business Review’s research indicates, “Delegation remains one of the most underutilized and under-developed management skills.” Yet most of us are buried at work with this underutilized, underdeveloped skill set. If this sounds even vaguely familiar, it begs the question, “Why?”

  1. Half of the reason we stop growing our delegation skills is because of frustration or disappointments in the past we refer back to and entrap ourselves in the process. Carol Walker, president of Prepared to Lead, said it well, “Most people will tell you they are too busy to delegate — that it’s more efficient for them to just do it themselves.” In this case “too busy” is short for “the way I do delegating, it doesn’t save me time, just adds to the frustration level; and it’s easier if I just do it myself, that way I can count on the results being delivered.”
  2. The other half of the reason we stop improving at delegation is that we just get swamped and don’t feel like we have time to work on one more thing (such as delegation), even though, as the CGMA writes, we know “Delegation is a key skill for effective leaders, who simply do not have the time to do many day-to-day tasks. Being able to delegate well allows leaders to free themselves to do the high-value tasks they’re paid to do, and to improve their own performance.”

BTW, if you look it up on the web, you find assessments to help with evaluating your current delegation skill level, as well as a number of advice and tips web pages. We find the tips and advice correct, but typically general and conceptual… which makes it difficult to use to improve your skill set.

Given that delegation doesn’t produce the hoped for results for so many, we’d like to share two very concrete steps to dramatically improve the results you get when you delegate using ManagePro. Here we go:

1.     Use DORIP to avoid Naked Delegations:


By this we mean you need to wrap every delegation in a common understanding of 4 key areas. You and the person receiving the delegation need to have a shared working definition of 4 key areas that we reference as DORIP. DORIP stands for:

          • Defined Outcome – clarity about what the outcome is to look like
          • Requirements – specificity about any requirements that come to bear, e.g. don’t spend more than an hour on this
          • Issues – a heads-up on any known issues that are to be encountered
          • Priority – what’s the relative priority for what’s being delegated, given everything else in play

Here’s the thing: When you spew out delegations throughout the day, without confirming or being assured you have the DORIP wrapper understood between you and the person to whom you are delegating, we consider that a “naked delegation.” It has all the potential for awkwardness that could be expected if someone showed up for work without their pants, not to mention regularly incurring frustration on both sides of the delegating process. So ensure you have a mindshare by adding the DORIP step to your delegation process which can easily be created in ManagePro, whether you are delegating a project or a simple task or to-do.


2.     Don’t Delegate without a vehicle for tracking the outcome in place

. Or think of it this way, “No Unleashed Delegations.” You need to tie a feedback loop (leash) to all of your delegations so you get updates on the progress and outcome, because the person responding to your delegation is effect your eyes, hands and feet.

When it comes to delegating, we’re all like the seeing impaired person with a guide dog who is relying upon some else for feedback. We all need a stable connection, not an episodic one.

But here’s the thing, most of us maintain a connection very inconsistently.  We end up relying way too much on memory, or the other person to accurately capture what we said, and of course, to let us know what happened.

two_figures_sharing_thoughtsThe problem is there’s probably 20 things that can happen to what you delegate that don’t realize the outcome you were hoping for. What if your delegation got derailed or de-prioritized by some other process, or just forgotten in the face of the “next in-coming”?  Mental telepathy is a risky bet when it comes to keep up with what happens to your delegations, that’s why it’s critical that you have a feedback loop in place.

ManagePro is a simple, but powerful platform for supporting your delegation effort. It’s a foundation for tracking all of the things you delegate, whether it’s simple tasks to complete projects. It provides room to capture not only the outcome that’s desired, also the requirements, issues and those important “updates.” All of it keeps you in loop without attending another meeting or reading through one more long email.

Think of ManagePro as a means of ensuring you don’t have to rely upon memory or telepathy to get great results and part of every day chasing down the answer to the question, “What happened on…?”  Oh, and it also has a convenient way to turn what you delegate into a scorecard for each of your direct reports.  We find that generates a 12% boost in productivity alone.


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We’ll walk you through exactly how to use ManagePro to improve your delegation success and recover that 30 – 60 minutes a day.