Tag Archives: Urgency

How Do You Get Comfortable Delegating to Staff? Eight Points

Situation: A CEO senses that employees don’t have his sense of urgency regarding the business. A case in point is responding quickly to new customer inquiries in a competitive market. Too often, he takes over to assure that bids are submitted quickly. How do you get comfortable delegating to staff?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • Prepare for a meeting with staff by defining the key desired standards in advance.
  • Initiate the meeting with this message: “We have a company image. This is how we define it.” Work with staff to create standards that define this image.
  • Agree on standards with the team.
    • Discuss standards with the team but have them make the decision. Guide the conversation – through questions – to focus on the desired standards. Be open to using the language developed by staff to enhance ownership.
  • Examples of standards that may apply:
    • Response time to incoming calls, maximum number of rings before response.
    • Time to return telephone messages.
    • Time to return emails.
    • Invoices completed the day or the order, or whatever is appropriate.
  • Establish a response regimen – assure that response is professional.
    • Train all people who pick up the phone.
    • Assign rotating office days for salespeople with responsibility to answer the phones.
  • Emphasize the importance of speedy response with an explanation that everyone will understand.
    • When a customer calls, assume that they are also calling 2-3 other suppliers. The first responder can shape the conversation in favor of their company and offering – for example the company can offer both a solution plus design and logistics assistance.
    • As first responded, assure that the focus is on the company’s strengths – this puts the competition at an immediate disadvantage.
  • Enforce and maintain the standards
    • Once standards are set, make review and updates of performance against standards part of weekly sales meetings. Use large charts to track this.
    • Create friendly internal competition. Who got the most business last week? Who did the best with incoming calls? Have the team develop competitive goals.
    • Recognize top performers with $50 – $100 cash award, restaurant certificate, etc. Make it fun!
  • If “everyone” is supposed to pick up the phone this becomes “nobody” because nobody is responsible for picking up the phone!

What are Best Practices for Effective Delegation? Three Thoughts

Situation: The CEO of a small company finds that whether he gives broad direction to employees or very specific instruction he gets the same result: they don’t seem to understand what he wants. He feels that they don’t have a sense of buy-in or urgency. What are best practices for effective delegation to improve results?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • You recently fired an employee for inconsistent performance but didn’t tell your staff. When you return to the office this afternoon, get the employees together and tell why the individual was fired. Let them know that this is part of a broader pattern that you see within the company and that if you see other cases of individuals not following through on their assigned responsibilities you will have to take additional action. Unless your employees understand that nonperformance has consequences, there will be no change.
  • In your operations, set subassembly goals and intermediate milestones coupled. Create and post a set of charts in the operations room so that employees have a regular visual reminder of how they are doing. Bring these charts to employee meetings and discuss how the company is doing. If deadlines aren’t being met, ask for input on how to improve performance. Celebrate successes with recognition for individuals or groups who demonstrate the ability to meet objectives.
  • Hire an operations manager with experience working with teams the size of yours. You want an individual who excels at motivating and getting results from people, and who has supervisory versus managerial experience. Think platoon leader – a person who excels at effectively running small teams.

Key Words: Delegation, Direction, Buy-in, Urgency, Performance, Consistent, Consequences, Vision, Priorities, Goals, Milestones, Chart, Review, Employee Input, Improvement, Celebration, Manager, Motivation, Results