The Art of Strengths Coaching

D is for Drive It, Delegate It Or Ditch It

Slides Drive It, .001

People often find that their professional lives become crowded as they take on more things to do. Sometimes this means they find it difficult to focus on the key strategies for achieving their goals.

“My To Do list is full and there are only so many jobs I can tackle,” said one leader.

“My days should be spent driving strategy, but they get consumed by catching-up on tasks.

“I only have so much energy, so it is important to channel this into the activities that will make a real difference.”

Be selective to be effective is the motto. Sounds easy in theory, but how to make it work in action?

One approach is to start by listing the things you want to do in your work. It is then to divide these under three headings: Drive It, Delegate It, Ditch It.

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to start by describing all the things you want to do in your professional life.

Slides Drive It, .002

Slides Drive It, .003

Drive It

Looking at your To Do list, start by describing the things that you personally want to drive.

“I am clear on our team’s picture of success,” said the leader mentioned above.

“I am also clear on the three key strategies we can follow to achieve that goal. I plan to take responsibility for the top two strategies.

“The first strategy is to continually manage and reassure our key stakeholders – my bosses and the banks – by delivering the required profitability.

“The second strategy is to build and maintain a culture in which people can deliver peak performance.

“I will take a hands on approach to making these two strategies happen.

“But I will, of course, build the right teams to ensure we deliver the required results.”

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. Bearing in mind the things on your To Do list, this invites you to do the following things.

Describe the specific things you want to take responsibility for driving.

Describe the specific things you can do to drive these things.

Slides Drive It, .004

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Delegate It

Looking at your To Do list, move on to the things you want to delegate. Delegation sounds easy in theory, but it is vital to do the following things.

To describe the specific outcomes that are required – the picture of success.

To delegate to people who are capable of delivering these outcomes – otherwise you will be spending your time micromanaging.

To check they have understood the required outcomes – by asking them to play back their understanding – and that they want to do the job.

To give them the support they require to do the jobs.

“Looking at our key strategies, I decide to delegate our approach to developing a successful digital arm,” said the leader mentioned above.

“Certainly I was still accountable for the results, but my Chief Technology Officer was more than capable of making it happen.

“We made clear contracts about the desired outcome, the support required and how they would proactively keep me informed about the progress toward achieving the goal.

“This meant I could sleep more easily at night.”

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. Bearing in mind the things on your To Do list, this invites you to do the following things.

Describe the specific things you want to delegate.

Describe the specific things you can do to delegate these properly and to whom.

Slides Drive It, .007

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Slides Drive It, .009

Ditch It

Looking at your To Do list, describe the things you want to ditch. It will also be important to describe how to manage the consequences of ditching these.

“I find it easy to ditch things in theory, but it is more difficult in practice,” said the leader.

“I start out with good intentions, but then get guilty about neglecting certain activities. So I often end up doing these things anyway.

“Bearing this in mind, I gathered my leadership team and we focused on the following things.

The key strategies we could follow and how we could deliver these successfully.

The specific things we wanted to ditch – the tasks, projects and other activities – because these were time consuming and did not contribute greatly to achieving the goals.

The specific things we could do to manage the consequences – to build on the pluses and deal with any minuses – of ditching these things. 

“The discussion became heated at times, because it sometimes involved pet projects, but we got there in the end.

“Ditching some activities also had implications for some of our stakeholders. So I spent quite a lot of time meeting these people and, where appropriate, finding alternative solutions.

“The ditching process eventually went well. This freed up more time for implementing the key strategies and achieving success.”

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. Bearing in mind the To Do list, this invites you to do the following things.

Describe the specific things you and your team can ditch.

Describe how you can ditch these things and manage the consequences successfully.

Slides Drive It, .010

Slides Drive It, .011

Slides Drive It, .012

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