Tag Archives: delegation

Delegating Chris Ruisi

Effective Delegation Made Easy in 6 Simple Steps

Wikipedia tells us that, “Delegation is the assignment of authority and responsibility to another person to carry out specific activities. The person who delegated the work still remains accountable for the outcome of that work. Delegation is supposed to empower a subordinate to learn and to make decisions.”

Poor delegation causes frustration and confusion to all of the parties involved. Or, to say it another way: When done poorly, “It can be a living hell!” It also cheats your team out of opportunities to develop their skills, which ultimately hurts you, your team and your organization.

So how do you get started on the road to becoming an effective delegator?  First and foremost, you’re going to have to break out of your comfort zone and be willing to change. After that, following these simple 6 steps will get you going in the right direction: Continue reading

Delegate - Chris Ruisi

What Stuff am I Thinking About this Week?

From my coaching and mentoring experiences, one of the biggest challenges those who aspire to be leaders consistently face is how to improve their productivity by delegating tasks to other team members. Many do it wrong and eventually throw their hands up in frustration and end up doing the work themselves and then…complain about it.

So the “stuff” I’m thinking about this week (and you should be also) is how to become effective when delegating to others. Think – and more importantly act – on these key delegation points this week:

  • Poor delegation creates frustration and confusion, destroying any effort on your part to be productive. Train others to do the tasks that take you away from more important things. A team that can’t develop their skills fully will ultimately hurt your business.
  • Delegation, when done the right way, is one of the most effective tools that successful leaders have. If you can live with the worst possible outcome, then you can delegate the project.
  • When delegating, choose someone who has exhibited the right work ethic and attitude.
  • When delegating, be sure to describe the task as clearly and as simply as possible. Invite and encourage questions and feedback.
  • When delegating, set clearly defined expectations along with a target completion date.
  • When delegating, don’t turn your back on the project just because you think you’ve delegated it. Periodically check in to see how they are doing and whether or not they need your assistance.

 

How to Master Distractions

5 Ways You Can Master Distractions

Do you find that during any given week you waste time and money, and miss opportunities? Do you find yourself involved in “fire-fighting”, moving from crisis-to-crisis? Are you very busy, running from task-to-task and meeting-to-meeting but still see no progress being made? Without specific goals, there is no way you can determine what are the most important tasks, and what you should be working on.

To be “The Master” of those things that distract you, use any one of these 5 tactics:

  1. Make sure everyone on your team knows what they must do, why they do it and how to do it. Make sure your team is trained and proficient in their roles. Set performance expectations, communicate them and then hold them accountable for meeting the standards you have set.
  2. Always have a daily plan, outlining what the top 1 to 3 things are that you must accomplish that day.
  3. Identify what barriers might stop you from achieving your goals for the day. Have ready a contingency plan if you get stalled.
  4. Do you find that nothing gets done, unless you do it? Are you properly delegating or are you just taking on other people’s problems?
  5. Schedule a 1-hour appointment each week with “yourself”. Put it on your calendar. You need the time to re-group and re-focus on the right things.

Noting more to add. Trust me, this “stuff” works. But, you must be committed to work the stuff. You have the tools to regain and maintain control. It only requires your commitment to get started.

 

Do You Delegate or Collect Other People’s Problems

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Chris discusses the steps you must take to be an effective delegator. Delegation is a leader’s most valuable tool, yet many do not understand how to properly and effectively use it. Listen and find out what you need to know to raise the level of productivity for yourself and your team.

 

 

Chris Ruisi’s “Step Up and Play Big Moments” is all about personal and business success. Chris’s goal is to offer today’s entrepreneurs, CEO’s and business leader’s practical guidance, tips, strategies and tactics that work in today’s challenging business climate. Chris brings his practical and successful experience at senior level management and Board positions to help his listeners cut through the clutter to Step Up and Play Big. Also available on iTunes.

 

 

It’s Not My Fault! Really? Then Stop Making Excuses

Learn the top 5 ways to stop making excuses

Albert Ellis, was an American psychologists, who in 1955 developed Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) once said, “The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny”.

Each of us, at one time or another, have made an excuse about a deadline we missed; work not done; or some other task that fell short of what we promised we would do. Some of us are so good at making excuses that it happens almost automatically or unconsciously as we attempt to avoid any responsibility for why something did not go well.

Maybe we do it because we don’t want to get in trouble or we don’t want to look bad in front of our co-workers; friends; family; boss or pet. We just don’t want anyone to think less about us. I guess it’s a part (a misguided part) of our emotional and psychological approach to how we try to defend or protect ourselves. We even go as far as to justify our excuse when we say –”But I have a good excuse”. From my perspective, there is no such thing as a good excuse. All excuses are bad. What an excuse means is that for whatever reason, you have made the decision to not step up and take ownership or responsibility for your actions or lack thereof. You are in essence saying – “It isn’t my fault, don’t hold me accountable“. Well, that’s just old fashioned “you know what”.

It’s amazing and scary just how much effort people put into coming up with what they think is a “good excuse”. If they directed half of that effort into doing what they did not, there would be no cause for alarm. One of the reasons, I think, people make an excuse is that they fear making a mistake. I read once that the greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearful that you will make one. An excuse is their misguided attempt to get others to sympathize with them and “cut them a break”. They are trying to portray themselves as the victim and not the cause.

But what really happens when you get into the habit of making excuses?

  1. First, the very people who you are trying to gain sympathy and understanding from begin to see you as someone who just cannot be depended upon. They know that you always have a reason (oops! I meant to say excuse) why something didn’t get done.
  2. Next, you are seen as being lazy and defensive.
  3. Your constant self victimization becomes old and eventually others will not want to work with you or even be around you. In fact, the only people you will attract are other self-made victims, like you.
  4. You become so good at making excuses, that your reality becomes distorted and you start to immediately identify why “you can’t” do something even before you fully understand what needs to be done. You run the risk of diminishing your self-respect.
  5. Finally, your life becomes an ever decreasing circle of lost personal and professional growth and opportunities. In essence, you self-sabotage yourself and never maximize your full capabilities.

So, how do you become more resilient and a “no excuse” player? Here are the top 5 ways you can eliminate the temptation of making excuses:

  1. Your level of perseverance needs to be such that you will do what you need to do to see something through to a successful end; and that you have faith and confidence in your abilities to essentially “learn on the job”.
  2. You must develop a “no fear” attitude towards failure. You must demonstrate that you are willing to try something and take a reasonable risk.
  3. You must be 100% committed to learn from your mistakes to help you be better the next time.
  4. When appropriate, you must be willing and eager to seek the help of experts as you work through a challenge. With this additional knowledge, you might avoid failure or a mistake, thereby eliminating the temptation to come up with an excuse.
  5. Finally, you must have in place an ongoing program of self development. No matter how good you may think your skills are, you can always get better. Thinking you know it all is arrogant and misleading to you and others. The better or more proficient you become, they less likely you will be put in the position to explain (make excuses for) your actions or non-actions.

Dr. Stephen Covey, an internationally recognized leadership authority and author has been quoted as saying “When you make a mistake, admit it; correct it and learn from it immediately”. Pretty good advice, right?

There is another aspect of excuse making that needs to be addressed also. Specifically, if you are in a leadership role, how do you handle a team member who is really good at making excuses? When I am asked to give a leadership keynote presentation as a motivational business speaker, I always stress how a leader can only be as good as his team and the team will only be as good as the leader. As a leader, to keep making progress, one of the things you need to focus on is building a “no excuse” culture within your team; easier said than done. If you have team members who are good at coming up with reasons why bad things are never their fault your ability to delegate and boost your team’s performance will be severely hampered. These folks will test every aspect of your leadership style. Shortly, I will be releasing another blog post on effective leadership techniques to handle the “excuse maker”. For now however, remember the importance of being consistent in the expectations you set for team members and how you hold them accountable. Excuse makers don’t like expectations and they really don’t like accountability – for anything! As I said, more to come but for now if you want to get a quick review on my prior posts on being a leader – then click leadership.

The next time you are faced with making the choice of offering an excuse or stepping up and taking responsibility and ownership for your actions, take a “time out” before you act. Consider for a minute if you are willing to put your courage, confidence, self respect and reputation at risk. Remember that others will judge you based on your actions. Do you want to be seen as the person who has the courage to take responsibility for their actions or the person who “always has an excuse”? Choose wisely.

Start the New Year Off With a Real Bang – Fire Yourself!

That’s right, I said fire yourself! This act alone will probably be the best and most important thing you can do for your business or your career right now – at the start of a new year. In the process of firing yourself, make sure you do an indepth exit interview so that you understand completely the reasons for this harsh and necessary action.

Oh! Don’t forget to throw yourself a “going away” party and buy yourself a gift (not to expensive). You will want to take this occasion (the party) to tell the boss (you) exactly what you think about him…and what you would do if you were in-charge! And, when you’ve done all of these things, figure out what you need to do and who do you have to be to re-hire yourself.

 

At times business owners and leaders become so caught up in their own strategies and methods that they have great difficulty breaking free or letting go of what they have become very comfortable doing. They are so heavily invested in their “it’s my way or the highway” approach that they have become oblivious to the fact that the world has changed around them and it is time to do some things differently; or begin a dangerous downward spiral from which there may be no recovery.

All of us at some point in our careers were “new” somewhere. Back then it was easy to take a fresh perspective and challenge other peoples assumptions or thinking. It’s always easier and more comfortable to criticize someone else’s thinking as opposed to stepping back and taking a hard look at our own actions and ideas.

I read recently that Jack Welch, GE’s legendary Chairman would meet at the beginning of each year with his senior staff and instruct them to act as if they were brand new in their roles. During this process, he would ask them to act as if they had no pre-conceived notions or prejudicies and bring a fresh new look at their roles and the business.

The approach that Welch followed is very similar to what I ask my clients to do when we work on “watching the game films.” Simply stated, watching the game films requires that you use your past experiences to freshen or renew your perspective. If done properly you learn what you would do differently to prepare for the future. To leverage your knowledge you have to be brutually honest with yourself; questionning the status quo and letting go of those assumptions that are no longer valid. This exercise is not for the timid and excuses are strictly forbidden. The goal is to learn and not to justify your past actions. It may be painful to your ego but the stakes and rewards can be extremely high.

But let’s get back to firing yourself – if you have done the game films exercise properly you should have a better insight into what has not worked for you in the past and what needs to be done in the future. Here’s where you need to tell the boss (that would be you) what needs to be done. First, what areas or skills does the boss need to enhance or even develop to be able to lead more effectively? Is it leadership, delegation, better communications, etc. Next would be what things should the boss (still you) stop doing or do differently going forward? Could goal setting or having a clear business vision work here? Remember, the goal is to bring a fresh perspective to how you do what you do.

With the completion of this candid self assessment, you now have to ask yourself – what do I need to do to re-hire myself. This is where a detailed gameplan for your enhanced performance comes into the picture. The gameplan should be specific and goal oriented. Consider wht you need to do to prepare yourself to reapply for the job. What contributions or skills would you bring to the table to make a real and measurable difference?

In this procees, be sure that you can answer the question – are you the type of leader you would work for? If you cannot work for you, why would anyone else. It’s important that you create a work climate where others will want to work for and with you. Employees want to be lead, not managed. They are looking for someone to make them feel that they are making an important contribution. Are you that person? You must know the answer. If it’s “no”, then fix it!

People also want to work for a leader who holds himself to the same high standards to which he holds his team. In other words, are you a leader in words and deeds or just words?

So, with the coming of the new year you have before you a tremendous opportunity to assess yourself; refresh your perspective and think about what youy would do if you had the chance to start over. But you need to act boldly to re-shape not only your business but you and your future. You need to be fearless; step up and play big. No excuses; just focused action. It’s your future, what do you want to do about it?

Never, Never Bleed When The Sharks Are in The Water With You

Finding yourself in a tough and even scary situation often comes with the territory when you are in a leadership position. During my executive career, I used to describe these situations as being comparable to swimming with a bunch of hungry and unpredictable the sharks. I also learned through my experiences that the one thing you never do is bleed when the sharks are in the water with you. Simple, right? However, in these tough situations, leaders sometimes get bruised and battered and they bleed. Once the sharks sense that there is blood in the water, the intensity of the crisis acclerates and the urge to start a feeding frenzy increases. A feeding frenzy in business terms is when there is a complete lack of discipline within the team; they loose their focus; fear of the unknown becomes the dominating emotion and the overriding purpose shifts from solving the problem to “every man for themselve”. This is when the situation goes from bad to worse, usually at a rapid pace. Right?

 

It’s these moments of business crisis or chaos that become a defining moment in your professional career. You can’t waste any time treading water and “hope” that the sharks will get bored and swim away from a meal waiting to be devoured. Have you ever walked away once you got a whiff of one of your favorite meals or desserts? I don’t think so. You have to act with purpose while in the midst of the situation. You can’t call a “time-out” or ”do-over” and climb out of the water to assess the crisis. You are in a ”real-time” situation that requires deliberate and committed action…while your team, and everybody else for that matter (including the sharks), is watching your every move, reaction and steps you take. If the leader panics, the team may also sensing that there is no path or vision to follow. Confusion and frantic activity becomes the norm amd the leader may be unable to regain control in a timely and qualitative manner. If on the other had, the leader acts boldly; remains calm but vigilant and focused, the team will sense this; their trust in their leader will grow and they will follow in an effective way.

So, what are you to do? First and foremost, when you find yourself among the sharks – a crisis; a bold plan is needed to help you navigate your way to safety. Let’s talk about the components of this plan. I have followed all of these components during the many busines chaotic business situations I found myself in. None were the sme but the components of the plan were consistent. I learned something from all of them and I hope that this learning will be equally valuable to you.

  1. Define and accept reality – the crisis is there; it will not fix itself and ignoring it or thinking it will go away by itself will only make it worse (the sharks are getting hungrier)
  2. Get your team engaged – make sure they understand the reality of the situation. Why?
  3. Because you need to get it out of your head that you will solve this crisis by yourself. If you think this, then just sprinkle yourself with seasoning and let the sharks have their way with you. Your team is willing to help you, so long as you ask them to. They need to understand it better in order for them to be fearless; step up and play big. There is always strength in numbers.
  4. Make sure you understand as best you can, the core cause of the crisis – knowing how it happened will help you understand how to fix it.
  5. With reality defined; your team engaged and the knowledge of how the crisis was caused – define the new reality; i.e. your vision of what you want it to look like. You know, you get back in the boat or make it to land in one piece
  6. Implement your plan; define the roles of your team members and set expectations that everyone understands – delegation and leadership are key skills
  7. Comunicate to your team on how they are doing. Give credit when credit is due. During a crisis emotions run high; stress and tension will effect your team members relationships with each other. Move quickly to diffuse any team tension. Not only is it distracting, but someone will get bit and your plan (and you, your team and your company) will fail
  8. Understand that it may take a fair amount of time to solve the problem. Try not to declare victory before it has been earned. Otherwise you will find yourself go backing over the same ground more times than you need or care to.
  9. Review your plan and team frequently; make adjustments; delegate; communicate and lead
  10. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes – you will! But learn from them. Focus on always moving forward. Focus on winning.

You will face a crisis in your professional career. Don’t run from it. Rather try to get out ahead of it as quickly as you can to get a different perspective on it. Once you have, try the 10 steps outlined above.

Lessons In Leadership: Do You Delegate (Or, Do You Collect Other People’s Problems)?

Wikipedia tells us that delegation is the assignment of authority and responsibility to another person to carry out specific activities. However the person who delegated the work remains accountable for the outcome of the delegated work. Delegation is supposed to empower a subordinate to make decisions, i.e. it is a shift of decision-making authority from one organizational level to a lower one. Sounds good but at this point you “control freaks” are ready to slit my wrists for sharing this stuff! But, in the face of this danger, I’ve decided to keep going.

Wikipedia goes on to state that delegation, if properly done, is not abdication (ok, control freaks now say with passion”yeah right!”). The opposite of effective delegation is micromanagement, where a manager provides too much input, direction, and review of delegated work (control freaks are now thinking – “Is there any other way?”). In general, delegation is good and can save money and time, help in building skills, and motivate people. Poor delegation, on the other hand, might cause frustration, and confusion to all of the involved parties. Or, to say it another way – when done poorly, “It can be a living hell”!

 

In his book The One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey Ken Blanchard talks about the Four Rules Of Monkey Management:

1. Describe the monkey: The dialogue must not end until the appropriate “next moves” have been identified
2. Assign the monkey: All monkeys shall be owned and handled at the lowest organizational level consistent with their welfare
3. Insure the monkey: Every monkey leaving your presence on the back of one of your people must be covered by one of two insurance policies:
a. Recommend, then act
b. Act, then advise
4. Check on the Monkey: proper follow-up means healthier monkeys. Every monkey should have a checkup appointment.

This is probably the best book on delegation that I have found and at some point in my executive/business coaching client work, I give it to my clients to read. In every case, the lessons in the book “hit home” with each client. The concept of “insuring the monkey” takes away all of the excuses you “control freaks” use as to why you cannot (or is it will not) let go.

One of the dark sides of delegation I had to deal with in my career is called “upward delegation”. The book describes it when a subordinate comes to you and utters these bone chilling words – “we have a problem” and your response is “I’ll handle it”. Sometimes you take it on because “it’s easier if I do it myself” or “I don’t have the time to show you so I’ll do it this time”. Regardless of what excuse you use (and make no mistake, they are excuses), the monkey is on your back and you are now a victim, that’s right a victim of “upward delegation”.

Over time I learned to fight and eliminate “upward delegation” by qualifying my “open door policy” by adding two mandatory requirements when someone came to tell me ” I need your help” or that all-time favorite “we have a problem”. They were –

first, tell me what you tried and why it did not work;

or second, tell me what you are thinking of trying that you want to brainstorm with me before you take action.

When you, as the leader, lay out performance expectations and stick to them, your team starts to do their homework and are better able to identify, understand and solve the challenges they confront. In essence, they become active participants in finding solutions – without having to be told. This simple approach encouraged my team to think about solutions before they raised the “red flag” and not to be fearful of offering up suggestions. When your team starts to think, speak and act in this way, they begin to grow and the growth of your business follows. In addition, you have more time to focus on the things you as the leader need to focus on – the strategic issues that will move your business (and you) forward.

So how do you get started? First and foremost, you’re going to have to break out of your comfort zone. If you are a so-called “control freak” you’re going to have to get comfortable feeling or being uncomfortable. Or as I have often said, “you need to Be Fearless; Step up and Play Big.” After that, following these simple steps will get you going in the right direction:

  1. Define the task – describe clealy what the output needs to be
  2. Delegate to a person with demonstrated competence
  3. Explain the task clearly, in writing if necessary
  4. Invite/encourage questions and feedback
  5. Give a schedule and deadline for completion
  6. Periodically inspect what you expect

A warning – the first time you follow this approach, may not go as smoothly as you might hope. That’s ok. Learn from the bumps in the road and apply that knowledge to the next time. Guess what? The next time may not go smoothly either. Just don’t quit on this or yourself. Keep working at it. Delegation, done the right way (and you can do it the right way), is probably one of the most effective tools a leader has in his leaders toolkit. So ask yourself, do you really delegate or do you just collect (and get swamped) other people’s problems? If the answer is you are a “collector” then stop right now and change course. Your career, buisness and quality of life depend on it.