Thursday, April 06, 2006

Delegating Outcomes - not just Tasks

Help me think this through: When we delegate tasks - that is frame assignments in terms of processes or steps to take - we run the risk of people doing exactly what we say, but still not getting the job done as we hoped. But if we we delegate desired outcomes - that is what we want to result from the assignment - it's more likely that that's what will be accomplished. Might this be true? Let's see:

Presenting Issue #1: A customer complaint needs to be addressed.
  • What delegating the task might sound like: "Here, go talk to this person."
  • What delegating the outcome might sound like: "Here, go make this customer happy again."

Presenting Issue #2: A vendor order needs to be expedited.

  • What delegating the task might sound like: "Here, go track this order."
  • What delegating the outcome might sound like: "Here, go insure the successful - and timely - delivery of this order."

Presenting Issue #3: Recent sales figures are below expectations.

  • What delegating the task might sound like: "Here, go research this report."
  • What delegating the outcome might sound like: "Here, go determine what needs to be done to get these numbers back on track."
In each instance, delegating the outcome seems like it would yield better results than just delegating the task. But, quite candidly, it took me a bit of time to figure out how to phrase each request in terms of an outcome that was both desired - and meaningful.

So I wonder, is the extra up-front work needed to focus an assignment like this really worth it? If the assignments you delegate sometimes come back to you completed, but insufficiently so, it very well may be.

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1 Comments:

Blogger Phil Gerbyshak said...

Great suggestion Barry. Thinking about outcomes does take some work, but it is definitely worth it. Thanks for sharing the tip, and a few suggestions.

Thursday, April 6, 2006 10:10:00 PM CDT  

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