The Challenge of Delegating

In the book, The Winning Way, co-authored with Brian Tracy, I described three key attributes for good leaders — Communicate, Calculate and Delegate.  It is interesting that this week I was faced with situations where clients were experiencing challenges all related delegation-400x275to letting go and allowing their team take on the responsibility and ability to get the job done.

Delegation — the act of passing a task or responsibility along to others, most commonly to people who are below you on the totem pole.

Delegation isn’t just a top down action.  In fact, delegation happens in all directions.  for example, my clients delegate projects and responsibility to me as their consultant (external delegation), a committee may delegate action items to specific departments or positions within an organization. Delegation happens between colleagues and collaborating departments too. When teams, from the leader on down, are engaged and share in the goals and vision of an organization, delegation is a fundamental component and can be a “make-it or break-it” facet of the results achieved.

I recently hired a new virtual assistant and I have been in the process of letting go of tasks I’ve been doing over the past few months.  This involves a change of thinking and planning.  My VA is eager to take on whatever I’ll send her way.  She’s also eager to assume role that offers me more value, and saves me time and effort.  What’s stopping me … bad habits!  Yes, its true.  I’m so used to just doing it all that I forget to delegate.

This week was a pivot point for us. My failure to effectively delegate was stopping both of us from being successful!  A great conversation where we shared, clarified and planned our next steps opened new doors.  My “aha” including the realization that I wasn’t  afraid my V.A. couldn’t do the job correctly.  Instead,  it was a failure to communicate what was in my head when I realized something needed to be done.

Do you delegate what and when you should, or do you fall prey to the common trap of “if I do it myself it will be done right”  or only delegate tasks you don’t like doing?

Delegation, when done right will enhance morale, build trust and facilitate success for yourself, your team and your organization.

 

Ignite Leadership has many solutions to develop stronger leadership and better teams.  Contact us to explore how our solutions may help you improve delegation, communication, leadership and team dynamics.

 

 

Building Team Focus

I’ve written before about how important it is for a team to have a common focus in order to be successful.  This is one area where diversity of though is not good.

 The way a team plays as a whole determines its success.  You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.  — Babe Ruth

Once a team culture is created it can be a challenge to change, yet it is possible to improve it.  In their book, The Discipline of Teams, Katzenback and Smith stated, “teams have four elements—common commitment and purpose, performance goals, complementary skills, and mutual accountability.”

Does your team have a common commitment and purpose?  If not, you have a group of individuals not a team.   Teams are link jigsaw puzzles, they fit together and interlock to create the bigger picture.  One broken or missing piece leaves aConnected team-StuartMiles_ID-100146283 gap.

High performance teams adopt the four elements of a team.  They come together for a common purpose, remain focused on that purpose as a collective.   As a leader of a team, your role is to help every team member identify the
key purpose and operating principles of the team.

  • Why is the team together?
  • What is the purpose of the team?
  • Who is responsible for what tasks and actions?
  • How will the collective results create a positive impact on the organization?

 

Aim higher. Stay focused.  — Brandon Adams

The vision and operating principles are created by the group as a first step in achieving a common focus and commitment from each member of the team.

Secondly, high performing teams revisit their operating principles regularly.  Are they still applicable.  What, if any, changes are needed and why?   When changes are needed, its important to understand why the changes are needed.

Lastly, it is important for each member of the team to be held accountable to the operating principles.  As discussed in the post “One Bad Apple – Can One Person Impact a Team” when a team member goes rogue, the focus and productivity of the entire team can be negatively impacted.

A point for Team Leads

If your team cannot see how their efforts are helping the entire organization and how working together is good for each individual as well as the team, there is work to be done to build a high performance team.  Consider a dedicated meeting to address the differences, gaps and challenges, identify solutions and celebrate what’s working well.  Team leader trust and transparency can make all the difference in this process.  You must also demonstrate you are on the same page with your team, supportive and willing to pitch in.  Remember, great leaders lead by example.

Is your team focus waivering?  We can help you be a better leader, build trust and engagement through focused conversations, leadership coaching and training.  Ask us how one of our solutions could benefit your team. 

End the Roller Coaster of Business

One thing I have learned over the years in business is there will always be some ups and downs.  Some are small, others more of a roller coaster ride!  When ups and downs happen, as the leader, you know how important it is to stay the course rather than make major changes.

Now, staying the course does not equal no change.  Instead, it involves connecting with your vision, understanding the market place and evaluating your systems.  Are they in alignment?  For example, as we enter summer, business may slow down as more of your customers take holidays and are away from work.  If your customer base is primarily business, the rotating holiday schedule may delay the decision making process, even when a sale appeared imminent just prior.  In this situation, you won’t make drastic changes, but may have to adjust your business operations or attract new clients who are open for business.

Regardless of which approach you choose, it is important to have a clear vision and strong systems in place so you can make subtle shifts effectively.  Recently I have experienced a series of ups and downs in my business.

The Spark in all of this was a major setback when a client backed out at the last minute.  Do you Is your biz on a roller coaster-Is it (2)believe in coincidences?  As I write this post, I have a smile on my face… realizing that coincidences do happen!  When one door shuts another opens.  You just have to be looking!

As I mentioned, I was speaking with a potential client who was indecisive on taking next steps. Long story short, we’d been doing the “sell-dance” and ended when they decided not to move forward on their project.  They loved what I could bring to the table and wanted to work with me because they could clearly see where I could lead the transitions they want to make … yet they decided to put everything on hold.

Ok, I must admit that this is not the first time I’ve experienced this same scenario, but it’s still frustrating!  I’m sure you can relate.

When facing this situation, I have found two key questions can help potential clients to make a decision.  “What specifically will motivate you to make a decision?” and “Is money the major obstacle?”

This gentle roller coaster ride resulted in some amazing business opportunities to appear because I was prepared and open for business.  After receiving the news that I wouldn’t be starting this major project, I had to redirect my focus.  Fortunately I had not put all my eggs in one basket and had kept looking, talking and making business proposals.  I also found the process I underwent with that client forced me to really shift my mindset and let go of the result and just go with the flow.

I don’t know which of these items were the positive influence, but I do know that one or all of them worked!   I was offered a new project by a former client which starts shortly, received several referrals, identified two new potential clients and projects where I could really help add value, and I create a new way to grow my business.

Your take away….

1.  Think Big — opportunities abound when you keep your eyes open to possibilities

2.  Stay Positive — one set back or two isn’t enough when you have a strong will to succeed

3.  Be willing to Exert some Effort in the process — we all want instant results but a little elbow grease always helps

4.  Focus on the Future —  Just because one potential client keeps telling you positive responses, until they put money in your hands, they are only a prospect.  Don’t let any other prospects or leads pass you by!

5.  Don’t Give Up! — Persistence, consistency and communicating your value in your prospect/customer’s language is key!

 

We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think.

When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.

Buddha

 

Create Great Action Plans to Drive Results

How often have we been told that you must visualize what you want or you will never get there?  One of the 7 habits by Stephen Covey in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People was

Start with the end in mind.”

If you want to make a change, you have to know what it is you want to do.  (Your Vision) To create a clear vision it’s important to step up and have an open mind for new opportunities and ways of doing things.  This may take some time and energy but its time well spent!

I have been working with my clients to create action plans so they can complete their project goals in a very tight timeline.  The planning process has gone exceptionally well but sometimes it can be very challenging.  This is where time spent gaining clarity in what you want to accomplish is so important.  If you aren’t specific with the outcome, how can you plan the steps to get you there?

I love the Deming Cycle as a tool for planning and executing projects. This management tool has four key phases… “Plan Do Check Act“.  PDCA, also known as PDSA (Plan Do Study Act), offers businesses a proven method to control and manage the processes and systems within their organization for continuous quality improvement (CQI).  Who doesn’t want to continually be more productive (get more done), be more efficient (use people and other resources better) and improve results (make more money)?

Here is a breakdown of the steps in the PDCA cycle (as outlined in wikipedia)

“PLAN

Establish the objectives and processes necessary to deliver results in accordance with the expected output (the target or goals). By establishing output expectations, the completeness and accuracy of the specification is also a part of the targeted improvement. When possible start on a small scale to test possible effects.

DO

Implement the plan, execute the process, make the product. Collect data for charting and analysis in the following “CHECK” and “ACT” steps.Every time you create something new you want to test it.  This is the purpose of this step.  Test your new system, new program or product.  Identify what’s working, what needs tweeking, what’s not working and needs to be fixed.

CHECK (STUDY)

Study the actual results (measured and collected in “DO” above) and compare against the expected results (targets or goals from the “PLAN”) to ascertain any differences. Look for deviation in implementation from the plan and also look for the appropriateness and completeness of the plan to enable the execution, i.e., “Do”. Charting data can make this much easier to see trends over several PDCA cycles and in order to convert the collected data into information. Information is what you need for the next step “ACT”.

ACT

Request corrective actions on significant differences between actual and planned results. Analyse the differences to determine their root causes. Determine where to apply changes that will include improvement of the process or product. When a pass through these four steps does not result in the need to improve, the scope to which PDCA is applied may be refined to plan and improve with more detail in the next iteration of the cycle, or attention needs to be placed in a different stage of the process.”

 

When you’ve been good at something one way its hard to change — Get uncomfortable, push outward and fulfill your full potential.  To be competitive in the marketplace, or to fulfill the strategic plan for your business, it is important for you to lead yourself and your team through a clear process to achieve the results in the most efficient and productive way.  Planning is often under performed.

A good plan should:

  • Be written down
  • Have goals attached so you know what you want to achieve
  • Include specific action steps  or tasks so you know if it was completed or not
  • Have a specific person assigned to each task (for accountability)
  • Have a timeline attached (so there are deadlines and a continual focus on moving forward)
  • Be reviewed regularly
  • Recognize accomplishments  (don’t forget to celebrate your accomplishments)

Create a definite plan for carrying out your desire and begin at once, whether you ready or not, to put this plan into action.
Napoleon Hill 

A Coach or mentor is a valuable resource to help you become clear on what you want to achieve, understanding all the steps you must take to get there, and to identify which resources are needed.   A Coach can also support you when things are challenging, and better yet, celebrate with you when you are successful!!  They can be your confident, sounding board, resource and help you remain focused on your goal.  We offer a “done for you” and a “done with you” option to fit your specific needs.

It’s been said that of all people
who say they’re ready

for change,
only 20% of them
are ready for action.
Are You Ready?


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Catherine Rocheleau, Founder & CEO of Ignite Leadership International ® helps business leaders and entrepreneurs build leadership, engage teams and enhance systems so they keep more of what they are making!  Our coaching, consulting and masterminds focus on your goals and the systems that drive your results!   Book a complimentary Ignite Your Business Session to explore your next steps (http://bit.ly/NextSteps4U)

Happiness Matters

There is much written about the impact of an organization’s culture and employee contentment on productivity and quality.  Entrepreneurs are more successful when they are passionate about what they do.  The long hard hours don’t feel like work when you love what you do.

“Over 40 percent of the companies listed in the top 100 of Fortune magazine’s “America’s Best Companies to Work For” also appear on the Fortune 500.”

As many of my regular followers know, I am an avid Vancouver Canucks fan.  Last year, the team was struggling and it was clear the players were not enjoying the game they love.  The Coach also didn’t seem happy and his frustration erupted at one point in the season, and he was suspended.  Wind the clock forward to today where TV commentators are talking about the changes they are seeing in the Canucks.  They are performing, scoring, and playing more like a team.  Commentators cite the change in coach and the fact that the guys love coming to work as fundamental factors for this change.

What is the atmosphere like in your business?  

Are your employees happy and engaged?  

Do they like coming to work?  

Executive Leadership Coaching has been identified as an effective method for organizations to enhance employee engagement and improve productivity.  The rollover effect is improved customer satisfaction.  Each of these outcomes are good for your bottom line.

Coaching is utilized by organizations to enhance leadership, performance and to develop employee skill.  I have hyena reality| freedigitalphotos.networked with many business owners and managers for this exact purpose.  In each situation, the goals of the organization and those of the individual manager have been explored and directs our time together.

Coaching offers a non-judgmental supportive environment for each manager to grow and stretch.  When we confront challenges, short-comings and strengths, we are also able to focus on solutions and next steps.  This vulnerable point of coaching offers the most growth potential and is essential for shifts to occur. I am always so impressed with the shifts that occur as we work together.   Coaching really does bring out the best in you and builds on your skills and interests and self confidence grows in a positive way.

Contact me to discuss how Ignite Leadership can help you and your organization improve leadership, employee engagement and your organizational culture.

The Q Decision Making Tool Explained [video]

In this video I share a very short live presentation on a valuable business decision making tool I use and share with my clients.

If you would like a copy of this tool, download your copy using the request box to the right.

 

Will Change Hurt or Help?

In my work, I am always dealing with change.  It may be helping clients to implement new systems, facing behaviours that are not working for them, creating new products/services, starting a new business or switching jobs (or careers).  No matter how we look at it, change is a constant.  There are many commonalities in how business owners, leaders, organizations and industries are dealing with this reality but there are also many differences.  Some organizations are internalizing the changes (looking inward and identifying ways to restructure, identify efficiencies, and plan for the future), while other organizations are looking outward for support and ideas in addition to looking inward.  It doesn’t matter if the organization is large or small, there are examples of both approaches in each category. [Read more…]

Productivity Booster

Recently I read an article featured in Forbes, entitled “The #1 Productivity Tool You Aren’t Using”.  In this article, contributor Dorie Clark shared insights from Harvard Business School professor Teresa Amabile’s new book “The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work.”  I have now begun to read the book and I’m enjoying it. [Read more…]

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