“Can you deliver your proposal on the 20th to a group of our executives?”
“That’ll work,” I confirmed. Never mind that I was booked solid right up until the delivery date. So I called in a newly hired VP to ask him to prepare the proposal for this hot new prospect and accompany me to deliver it.
“Sure thing. No problem. I’ve done dozens of these,” Doug said.
“The prospect wants a new communication campaign, something we’ve never done previously. But it’s well within our wheelhouse.” I quickly outlined what I thought Doug should include in our proposal and suggested the most appropriate format.
“Got it,” Doug said. “I’ll have it ready in a few days.”
From the road during the next few days, I checked in to see if Doug had questions.
“Nope,” he said. “No worries. All under control.”
A week before we were to deliver the proposal, I asked to review a draft.
“It’s not quite ready for your review, but it’s looking good.”
On Thursday before our scheduled Friday client meeting, I insisted on seeing the proposal. You guessed it: The proposal was less than a page—primarily a bulleted list of the notes I’d outlined to Doug previously when I’d “delegated” the project. I worked all night to rewrite the proposal.
That incident was more than 25 years ago, and it still gives me heartburn. I’ve learned a thing or two about delegation since then.
The operative word in the blog title today is “JUST.” Done right, delegating or doing is not an off-the-cuff decision or task. In many situations, neither option is appropriate: JUST to do something yourself or JUST to delegate it. Doing something yourself that someone at a lower salary could handle takes you off track for accomplishing strategic projects that ONLY you can do.
But JUST delegating a task without forethought is a recipe for either disappointment or disaster. Instead, like the airplane pilot, you need a checklist to follow for best results.
Don’t JUST do it or delegate it. Decide to delegate deliberately so that the result meets or exceeds your expectations. Like the airplane pilot, try a checklist. You can download ours here by clicking this image below or this link:
Learn more ways to communicate the requirements of tasks with Communicate Like a Leader: Connecting Strategically to Coach, Inspire, and Get Things Done