The Art of Delegating – don’t take the monkey!

Manager and Managee

I'm beginning to realize that Mister B is among other things, something of a management philosopher. So I ask him: "Coming up with these five answers for each element in the Pro­gram will be a chore. Who's going to do it?"  

"Ask your five area managers to come up with the answers to these five questions as they in­tend to apply them exclusively to their own departments. Then ask them to reconcile their individual answers to question No. 1 with each other and propose the resulting single answer to you as the answer for our entire division. Have them do the same for question No. 5. The middle three questions will answer themselves once this is done. Then you'll have a coordinated plan of action for each of the Management Improvement responsibilities with clearly defined aims, quantitative measures of accomplishment, and definite accountabilities. This will bring about management improvement 'on purpose' rather than 'by intent.' Do you follow me?"

"Sure I do. But this will take time. Moreover, my area managers weren't selected for their ability in these matters. They're all hard-hitting, shoot-­from-the-hip field people. There's a lot of sophistication involved in this which I don't think they have. They're a successful bunch in their own right and will be hard to convince. After all, this division has been a winner for as long as I can remember without any formal 'Management Improvement' programs. How do you propose we get them fired up?"  

"I was coming to that. If you feel that these programs can and will pay off, then a small investment is all you need to assure that payoff. Call a two-day seminar for your area managers and their immediate subordinates to thoroughly discuss these areas of responsibility for Management Improvement. I can get the help of the key staff people in Corporate Headquarters (if you want them in on this) in working up an agenda. Maybe we'll be able to get a practitioner in each of these specialties from other companies to tell us their ‘success stories’. The idea would be to help our area managers get abreast of what’s being done in those companies where it’s being done best so that they can acquire the confidence they’ll need to develop their own answers to the five questions. After the seminar is over I’ll devote all my time to helping them in that effort."

"You've got the job," I reply with obvious pleasure.
As he turns to leave, I ask him, "By when will I have the draft of the seminar?"
"Two weeks from today."
As I note this on my calendar pad, I glance at his back from the corner of my eye. The monkey is on it all right.
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