Posts tagged business
When NOT to Delegate

As valuable as delegation can be, there are times where it’s simply not advisable. The following list presents when it’s better to not delegate but rather keep the project for yourself:

  1. The task has not been fully thought through – If you aren’t able to explain the task and its goals in concrete terms, then you have more work to do before handing it off to someone else to accomplish.

  2. The project must be done in a specific way – In some situations, such as an intricate project that you developed and possess intimate knowledge of, delegation may create more problems than benefits.

  3. It takes more time for explain what to do than to just do it yourself – This assumes that this is a one-off project that just needs to be done and taken off the list. A recurring project or one that will provide opportunity for meaningful subordinate development should not be included in this list.

  4. When you really enjoy doing it – There’s nothing wrong with doing some things that can be taken over by others but still provide you with a positive burst of motivation or excitement, such as greeting students and parents in carpool. But learn to limit these so that you can ensure that you’re still doing the work that you really need to be doing.

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How to Decide What to Delegate

In our last post on delegation, we focused on situational leadership and how it impacts the role a leader plays in transferring work and responsibility to others. In this post the focus will shift to when one should delegate, and when one shouldn’t.

Choosing tasks to delegate can be trickier than it seems. There are some tasks, such as high-risk or crisis-related activities, that leaders should never delegate. Other responsibilities, including those that will be performed once or rarely and require much guidance and direction, should also not be included.

To determine when delegation is most appropriate, consider these key questions:

  1. Is this a task that someone else can do, or is it critical that you do it yourself?

  2. Is there someone else who has (or can be given) the necessary information or expertise to complete the task?

  3. Does the task provide an opportunity to grow and develop another person's skills?

  4. Is this a task that will recur with some frequency, in a similar form, in the future?

  5. Do you have enough time to delegate the job effectively and stay on top of things? Time must be available for adequate training, for questions and answers, to check in on progress, and to re-imagine/rework when necessary.

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Educational Insights from the Business World

Without question, there are several significant differences between the roles and goals of educators and those the ply their trade in the business world. Perhaps most significant is how the two groups measure success.

Educators are focused primarily on student learning and development. To them, a healthy fiscal bottom line is a means through which they can achieve their goals, not an end to itself. Businesspeople, in contrast, are mainly interested in developing successful, profitable enterprises. Learning and development are viewed as necessary to help businesses and their people grow, but do not constitute a primary objective for most businesses.

The fundamental difference of purpose that separates schools from businesses often lends members of each camp to think that there is little to be learned from the other. This, in my view, is particularly true for educators. As a former teacher and principal, I felt a fundamental disconnect from what was occurring in the for-profit world. Many of my peers and colleagues expressed similar sentiment. Any time that I heard of some lay leader or governmental initiative to make schools more like businesses, I became suspicious. “What do they know about education anyway?”, I would ask.

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Learn to measure, measure, measure 📏

My eyes can deceive me quite a bit.

Over the past two months, I have embarked in some house-related projects. One was to redo our front walk. The other was to level the area underneath an over-ground pool.

Because my home 🏡 is on a hill, an optical illusion is created that makes flat surfaces appear sloped.

When I saw our completed walk, something just didn’t look right.

And after adding substantial top soil to one end of the pool 🤽 site to even things out and prevent water for building on one end, it still seemed uneven.

However, when I used a level 📐 (a tool that indicates how flat a surface is), I saw that the surface is in fact flat.

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How to Break Through When You’re Stuck - Part II

In a previous post, we laid out a number of action steps that can help someone who feels stuck to break through and get things done. Here are some additional steps that can make the difference between languishing behind paralyzing inaction and crushing it with empowering achievement.

  1. Find a mentor who is one chapter ahead of you – When you don’t know what to do next to, find someone who does. Ideally, this should be someone who just walked a mile in your shoes. They will not only be current in their thinking and approaches, but will likely be more willing to share their experiences and help you grow more quickly than you could do alone.
  2. Get a coach – Coaches are trained to ask penetrating, elucidating questions that push aside the clutter and clear a pathway forward. Great coaches help you overcome gremlins and limiting beliefs and forge ahead with greater confidence.
  3. Be prepared to learn – Sometimes, the difference between staying put and moving forward is the ability and willingness to learn new information or skills. Don’t assume that yesterday’s knowledge can always solve today’s problems. Figure out where your gaps are and hit the books, video, course, etc.
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Keeping your foot on the pedal

It’s not always so simple to increase production or to quickly find additional talent to bring aboard. There is also a mindset of goal targeting, which affects leaders and their teams. Once the target goal has been met, we naturally shift into low gear and perhaps even want to call it a day, so to speak. Lastly, increased demand may be “slowed” by increased “traffic,” such as rising costs. These could include investments in infrastructure, recruiting, training and the like. For some people all of the extra time and effort needed to service the “new riders” may diminish their enthusiasm and leave business prospects out in the rain.

In order for businesses to respond well to demand hikes, they may wish to consider these strategies:

  1. Plan ahead. It can be very difficult to look down the road when you have to manage the here and now. Successful leaders know, however, that the status quo is usually not where they want to remain indefinitely. Begin by envisioning a better tomorrow and the changes that such a development will require. Develop an action plan for the eventuality (at least in general terms), including how you may adjust administrative roles and meet staffing demands (such as by maintaining a candidate pool). More about that below.
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