The forgotten "D": Delegate

photo of Willie Mays statue in San Francisco courtesy of soulofamerica.com
photo of Willie Mays statue in San Francisco courtesy of soulofamerica.com

You’ve no doubt heard it before. To be more productive, we must:

  • Discard (whatever isn’t needed),
  • Deposit (into files whatever needs to be added to the archive or handled later), and
  • Do (what can be done right now).

What about the “forgotten D”: delegate?

Busy professionals sometimes lament that they aren’t good at delegating or that they don’t know how. We’ll explore some of the reasons people don’t delegate another day. For now, let’s just consider the question of how to delegate.

There are only three steps to an effective delegation.

First, define the scope of the project or task you’re delegating. Clearly identify the goal or final result. What do you want the other person to do?

Second, define the time-frame for interim steps and final completion. Give the other person a deadline, and if the deadline is far into the future, agree when you will follow up with them for a status update or to check on interim goals.

Finally, make sure the other person understands and agrees to do what you’re asking. This may sound obvious, but if the receiver of the task hasn’t accepted responsibility for the objective, then you haven’t effectively delegated that responsibility.

If you’re trying to do everything yourself, remember that Babe Ruth didn’t sew his own uniforms. Work from your genius and let others help you out. Learn to delegate effectively.

What are some tasks that you might delegate to lighten your load?

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