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We are having trouble structuring our activity at one of our sites.

One of the reason is the difficulty of the site manager to delegate. He was formerly taking care of just the technical team, but he now need to be able to run the whole site, and develop some activities.

Our first action was to define with him how his reponsabilities should look in 2008. It's been done.

Next action : a retired owner of a small business will come and help him in the delegation process. She is very professional and accurate about collecting information and building procedures (think about a "S").

Her action will be :
1) She will start by auditing what are the tasks the site manager now does and how long it takes him
2) What can be delegated / not delegated
3) Help him to find how to delegate : how to simplify the process to let his assistants be able to run it without him and still have a control on the results
4) Follow him up for some months so he does not go back to his old love of doing everything himself !

I thought it would be very interesting to have her spend the first one or two weeks following him everywhere and take accurate notes about what is a "normal" week. The site manager agreed on that.

Do you have any source or advice for doing this kind of work, on top of MT podcast ?
Another problem is she will not be there full time.

Many thanks for your help.

WillDuke's picture

In the past I have kept a time log. This log was a to-the-minute tracking of everything I did during the day. Each task was also then assigned a category. At the end of each day and week I tallied up how I spent my time.

I certainly wouldn't recommend this on an ongoing basis, but for a week or two it can be extremely illuminating about how you spend your time. (It also forces you to be a lot more productive as you don't want 3 hours of unexplainable on there, even if you're the only one reading it.)

Along with that, get him on the GTD (Getting Things Done) plan. Get all of his tasks and responsibilities into one system. Most people who have trouble delegating feel that they cannot trust the work to be done if they don't do it themselves. The GTD process will help him be more comfortable with delegating as he will no longer be abdicating.

Then, when he sees his To-Do list next to his Doing list, enlightenment will ensue.

cwatine's picture

Thanks for this advice.

I agree that the first thing to do is to compare his "usual day" to his "ideal day" : the amount of time dedicated to what are not his primary objectives.

We have already worked on his Email and task management (see my topic about Outlook) and it has already made a difference in the speed he answers to his Emails. So he already knows the GTD principles.

But the delegation aspect is still pending.

He needs to structure his team :
- define new responsibilities
- define processes
- put controls in place

This is hard and difficult work, when you are "inside the work" and not "external to the work"

Mark's picture

Excellent idea. Make sure the consultant knows that the manager will ALWAYS say, "well, this isn't normal..."...but there is NO normal. Two weeks is plenty of time to see what needs to be seen.

I'd recommend she interview directs as well, not about what the manager should delegate, but what they want and think they can do. The biggest problem with delegation is the manager holding on to too much thinking their directs can't do it. They can and will.

Mark

cwatine's picture

[quote]Excellent idea. Make sure the consultant knows that the manager will ALWAYS say, "well, this isn't normal..."...but there is NO normal. Two weeks is plenty of time to see what needs to be seen.[/quote]

My point is she will only be half time there. So the picture won't be as complete as I would like.

[quote]I'd recommend she interview directs as well, not about what the manager should delegate, but what they want and think they can do. The biggest problem with delegation is the manager holding on to too much thinking their directs can't do it. They can and will.[/quote]

Great idea.
Thanks.

There another issue : we will recruit one person to assist this manager. One of the role of the consultant is to make proposal about the profile of the person and what task he/she should be in charge of.
Any advice on that ? Should the consultat ask the other directs about that ?

WillDuke's picture

It's starting to sound like the "consultant" is doing work the manager should be doing. Is there a reason the manager isn't completing these tasks?

If the manager needs the help/training with these tasks then have the consultant educate the manager. Give a man a fish and he gets dinner. Teach a man to fish and he eats forever.

cwatine's picture

I partially agree ...

But I don't have the possibility to wait more.

And a consultant's mission is also sometime to make things happen (on top of his "external" vision)

Mark's picture

Ced-

Yes, she can do that, as long as there's no doubt that it's the manager's decision.

Mark