Proper, responsible and accountable delegation is a form of contract between a client and the team or individual commissioned or assigned to complete a task or project.
A “client” may be an outside entity, a collaborator, a team, a co-worker or a supervisor.
The most important attribute of delegation is trust.
Covenant and Commitment
Covenants that define such an agreement, whether formal or informal, need to include clear definition of and commitment to the following aspects by all involved parties:
- Project/job/task/action scope;
- Division of responsibilities necessary to complete the work;
- Appropriate, adequate, available resources provided and utilized;
- Accepted formats for administrative tools and work products;
- Specific results to be achieved (not “the solution” but the result of implementation);
- Time schedule to perform work and present Completed Action, including milestones;
- Delineated authority to carry out the delegated work – in all segments of the “team”;
- Clarification and dispute resolution method determined prior to start-up;
- Performance measurement tools and their calibration, including standards for identifying and reporting the status of monitored processes and products;
- Client and assignee acceptance of their roles and the above aspects of performing the contract.
Reporting by an assigned individual or team internally and to the client during the course of work and when “completed action” has achieved the goal is essential to the effort…
…including reporting BY the client TO the team and delegees!
Reporting needs to be Contextual, Succinct, Responsible, Accountable, Verifiable, and Timely,
- Interim status reports on long-term projects and sub-tasks;
- Reports of completed actions or projects including the actual results achieved compared to the planned results;
- Reasons and actions recommended to compensate for variances when progress does not occur or product develop as anticipated;
- Major, unanticipated obstacles or collateral problems identified during the effort, including recommendations to remove, solve, mitigate, or benefit from each of them;
- Any confusion or inadequacy in the extent of the delegation or authority necessary to accomplish Completed Action and a recommended methodology for resolving issues;
- Recommendations for improving a process, project, work environment, resources, or the organization as a whole.
Each team member (and the “team” includes the “client”) must commit to one another that they will think through their own problems before confronting others with them.
Even “Completed Staff Action” successfully performed, ready for client assent requires constructive review during the course of an effort and at final presentation for implementation approval. Aspects of constructive review include:
- Quantitative aspects (Was cost reduced 5% as planned? Was the infection rate cut?);
- Qualitative aspects (Is it a good design? Have good client relations been maintained?);
- Methodology aspects (Were team functions, feedback, and authority utilization efficacious?);
- Deadline considerations (Were milestones and the completion deadline met? beaten?);
- Proper allocation of human, time and fiscal resources to each given objective;
- Type and difficulty of objectives encountered versus projected;
- Creativity in overcoming anticipated and unforeseen obstacles;
- Additional objectives suggested, undertaken, or achieved;
- Use of good practices in accomplishing all objectives;
- Cooperative, coordinated and course-maintenance/correcting behavior visible throughout the effort;
- Demonstrable avoidance of unilateral program or contract modifications, conflict-inducing or unethical practices.
Delegation is Not Dumping
Obviously, delegation is not to be a lightly regarded decision or action. Delegation is a two-way agreement to share talents, treasure, responsibility and authority to achieve a goal unreachable without it. Don’t squander a trust or begrudge recognition and reward. The value of and reward from in response to an express need, including the investment of expectations, people, resources and time, may range a great treasure for a large-scale effort, to the treasure in even the smallest completed action…
A grateful smile and a sincere “thank you”.