Accountability Doesn’t Happen by Coincidence Either

Accountability Doesn’t Happen by Coincidence Either

So, did you get to try out some of the accountability tips from last week?

We’ve got Kristin back this week to share the 4 more tips on our delegation checklist – where you assign tasks to your team members and hold them accountable to quality standards and deadlines!

Screen Shot 2017-04-28 at 1.52.01 PMTake it away, Kristin!

After you’ve had the chance to communicate the purpose of the project/task,  state the mission and core values the task supports, and explain the results you expect there are a couple additional tips you can try!

  • Identify checkpoints

Assign a date for an interim checkpoint or two and enter it into your calendar.   Depending on the person you are delegating to, the checkpoints you identify could be several one-on-one meetings to discuss progress to-date, a formal progress report, or a simple email from the team member describing progress. You might ask for a checkpoint report that covers three topics:

  • Successes and progress
  • Challenges or roadblocks
  • Help needed, if any

Some managers like to state a “no surprises” policy at this point. “No surprises” means that the team member is expected to communicate issues in meeting a deadline well BEFORE the deadline. I always tell my team members, “Bad news early is good news,” meaning, if I know that you can’t meet a deadline well in advance, we can do something about it. Don’t tell me on or after the deadline about problems – then it’s too late to save it.

  • Set a deadline and consequences for not meeting it

Clearly state the deadline for this task and why it is important. “Susie, we are not putting our best foot forward with the lousy copier we have, and it’s not sending the right message to our employees when we expect them to work with unreliable equipment. It’s vitally important that you have a new copier installed by April 15. I’m counting on you to do that, ok?”

The good news is that this process can expand or contract depending on the trustworthiness of the team member. If you are delegating to someone you already trust, you quickly hit on these steps. However, if you are delegating to a new person or a poor performer, you will want to follow this process to the letter. 

Let us know which tips you tried and like best!

And, if you want to learn more about accountability processes, check out Kristin Robertson’s book, Your Company Culture Ecosystem: Growing a Vibrant Business.

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Interns: What to do With Them?

Interns: What to do With Them?

About 4 weeks ago you had a new team member added to your staff.

You could have sworn they were in high school, but this intern is a junior in college and hoping to make some connections before “all gets real” next year.

As these 4 weeks have passed, it’s been nice to have the extra help but you are noticing that you intern is seeming… well – bored?

You can tell they had hopes of what their internship would be and because May (and June) were so crazy this year, you know you could have planned a little better for their arrival.

So, now what?

Here are some tips on how to re-engage with your intern:

1. Start the relationship over – take them to lunch!

  • Get to know them! Where do they want their career to start? What is their dream job? If they could work for any company/ industry, what would it be?

2. Take the time to set the context for upcoming projects

  • Sometimes tasks given to interns seem like the “projects that no one wants”. Make it feel special (in an authentic way!)
  • Take some time to share about why those projects REALLY matter or choose a project that would benefit your team and speak to your interns interests!

3. Have some new resources available

  • You’ve got two goals here: You want your intern to be successful with the new project you’ve given and you want to show thoughtfulness (that you’ve prepared for giving this new project)

4. Offer and ask for feedback – and not too late, either!

  • Give your intern actionable feedback with real examples – it help them to be successful in the future! Make sure to give some positive feedback too
  • Ask them for feedback on what you’ve done well and what else they would have appreciated

Try out these tips and let us know your best strategies for engaging with interns!

Setting Priorities when Things are Crazy

Screen Shot 2016-03-11 at 7.29.03 AM

We’ve all had those moments… you know, those moments when you are happily sitting at your desk knocking things out and then your phone rings and you hear:

“Heyyyy, so we’ve got a new project that we’ve got to get done by tomorrow” YIKES!

Instantly it’s all hands on deck and your to-do list is totally thrown out the window.

BUT – there are still things on that list that you need to get done! You can feel your heart rate start to heighten and your palms get sweaty – now what?!

How do you deal with the fires?

Step 1: Calm it down!

You know you’re not at your best when you are stressed. Nothing productive gets done well when you are in that space.

Do what you need to do to get back to a place of thinking in your logical brain verses thinking from your stress. How do you actually DO that?

  • Take a couple of long (6-8 second) deep breaths
  • Get out of the office for a minute, go walk across the street to grab a cup of tea or coffee
  • Plan for a quick run during your lunch break

Step 2: Take a step back

Make a list of all of the items that HAVE to get done today or tomorrow. Look to see if there is anything that you can push out another day or two, or delegate to someone on your team (need tips on how to delegate effectively? Check out here, here, and here).

Communicate with those around you of what came up: tell you boss that you’ve been handed this last-minute task and you’re prioritizing it, let your team know that you’ve been handed a huge project and that you’ll probably be a little more on edge today. Being transparent with those around you will serve you all well!

Step 3: Set Realistic Expectations

You know you can’t do everything, so start thinking through your to-do’s in buckets.

Bucket 1 – Quick knock-outs: Is there an item or two that you can complete in the next 20 or 30 minutes? Do those quickly – spend no longer than 30 minutes on each. Feeling better as things start to be checked off your to-do list? Great. Move to bucket 2.

Bucket 2 – the biggies: Buckle down and knock out the most important/time sensitive item. Is someone waiting for a piece from you to be able to work on theirs? Tackle that now.

Bucket 3 – Finish it up! Circle back to those important items that take a little longer.

Try these out and let us know your best practices in dealing with fires!

The Art of Scaling Questions

PROGRESS!

It’s been quite a journey of delegation! We looked at a number of reasons why we don’t delegate. And, we addressed what we will do after we delegate, overcoming the fears of imperfection, and what to do when we feel like we don’t have time to delegate.

Last week we explored the strategy on how to increase what we do by 10x or over 100%. So, did you think about what it is you want to increase?

Sometimes, when there is a goal we want to reach it is difficult to know the steps needed to get there.

Tze Meng ChinTze Meng Chin, a leadership and development Coach, suggested using “progressive delegation” and “scaling questions” to work up to the desired goal.

To start with scaling questions, imagine a scale from 0- 10, 10 being where you are a delegating rockstar. Identify where you currently are on the scale.

Got your number? Ok – now answer these questions:

  • What did you do to get from 0 to where you are at now?
  • What have you done that has worked well?
  • Where do you want to get to?
  • What does reaching that goal mean or look like to you?
  • What is one small step you can take that will bring you closer to your goal?

Using these questions gives you a clear look at where you are starting, where you have come from, and gives you some manageable ideas on steps that you can take to achieve your goal.

This week, let’s think about where we want to increase by 10X using the scaling questions above!

I Just Don’t Have Time!

Even if you are not usually a list-loving person, the chances are, with all that’s on your plate – you have lots of lists.

And, adding something – anything – to that list just makes it feel even more impossible to get everything done.

When we heard from Lisa Harper, an executive Coach for over 20 years, she said that one reason we don’t delegate is because, “we feel we don’t have time to explain the project or task and we think it’s easier to just do it ourselves, not thinking about the long term impact this can have”.

Ringing a (rather loud) bell?

Here’s what she suggests:

Lisa HarperConsider the long term benefits of delegation versus the small amount of time invested to delegate a task.  Is it more productive to spend a little time now teaching someone else how to do something or continue to do it yourself?

Understand that one of the key responsibilities for managers is the building of their talent bench. Your employees deserve work that challenges and stretches their capabilities.  Delegating interesting projects and tasks is a way to do that.  

Remember that a lack of delegation can translate into unmotivated employees resulting in turnover which is expensive and even more time-consuming.

Many of my clients tell me their manager wants them to be more strategic.  Use this time to focus on the higher level goals of your business, team or work group.”

Wow! Thanks, Lisa!

Take a look at the week ahead and all you have to accomplish.

Even though finding the time to train someone on the new task may seem impossible, consider Lisa’s suggestions above and think about the long-term benefits of you delegating a task next week!

(Im) Perfect

I know, I know… just the title makes you cringe.

And, if I’m honest, it makes me cringe too. You mean something may not be perfect? Not on my watch!

What have you done to make sure that it is true? Everything. Literally… everything.

And, how do you feel? Overworked. Stressed. Exhausted. The list goes on.

We heard from Trish Brooks, a couple of weeks ago about the concept that “we don’t delegate because of a fear that the employee may not meet our (sometimes perfectionist) standards.”

So, Trish, how would you recommend working past this fear?

First, connect with a time when you were given the responsibility for a project that was slightly over your head.

Think about how great the learning was, how engaged you were, how grateful you were for the trust of your boss.

Remember that you were successful!

Are you willing to give that same gift to your employees?

Your role as a people leader is to lead the people first (not the product – the product work will be good if you lead the people).

Developing people is a huge part of your role; one of the most important parts!

Take a moment to let those last two lines sink in… maybe even read them one more time.

When we think about delegating a task in terms of giving the gift of developing the people around us, it creates different perspective.

Choose one direct report who you would like to begin (or continue!) developing.

Now, look at your workload and choose one task that you can [deep breath] delegate to that person.

But, What Will I Do?

You have your (long) list of tasks that needs to get done this week. Yet, in reality, you know you can’t do it all (and, well, sleep at some point too). Then again- if you delegate what is left for you to do?

Last week we heard from Jennifer Jones that one of the reasons we don’t delegate is because we wonder what our job will become if we “give away” all the tasks we are doing.

Here’s her advice on how to work past “what you will do”.

Jennifer Jones “The technique is to determine what you will “do” instead.

Explore the role of leader and manager.

See that, in addition to “doing,” there are many important things for leaders to engage in (vision, strategy, inspiration, motivation, training a successor, etc.).

It’s also important to have the perspective that it’s the leader’s job to develop the skills of their people through delegating with guidance.

Thanks, Jennifer!

As a manager, your job is so much more than simply checking off tasks on a to do list.

So, here’s this week’s challenge:

1. Choose one task you can delegate… and do it!

2. Then, in your newly found time, start thinking about what the purpose of your team is.