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

The Third Week

The third Monday finds us reading together four one-page "Proposals for Action." Of these, two are obvious winners and I sign the attached authorizing memoranda without a word. A third I disapprove, again without any comments. I sense that the timing would be bad from my boss's viewpoint. Ms. A could not have known this. So I tell her to resubmit it as is sixty days from now. At that time I expect to attach it to one of my own proposals as "Exhibit A." Her fourth is confusing. I point out what confuses me and ask her to remedy it and bring it back to me in a week so I can act on it, one way or another, with a clear head. "Fine," she retorts with a sigh of half relief, "but what about the activities in Categories A and B?"  

I'm glad you asked. These activities are of a more tentative sort. Justification to spend time and money on them will have to be based on less rigid considerations than for activities in Category C. Therefore I'd like you to write, in less than one page, a 'Situation Report' for each and every Category A and B item on your work activity fist. Use the following format, answering the four questions:

  1. What is the situation that gives rise to this activity?
  2. In what respects is this situation favourable and/or unfavourable?
  3. What (if anything) can happen if we do no­thing about this situation other than what we are doing now?
  4. What (if anything) can happen if we change what we are now doing about this situation?
“This will be my way of knowing on a moment's notice what you are ready to contribute to any problem or opportunity that arises in top management meetings”.
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