I was delivering an Effective Time Management class to a financial institution in North Carolina earlier this year. As we moved through the class material, we started talking about two of the most basic time savers (not really a good term to use because we cannot save time) — delegation and meetings.
We discussed how when you delegate it not only provides the opportunity for subordinates to grow, it also allows you to focus on more important and urgent duties. One participant made a comment that even though she fully understood the concept of delegation, she had a hard time putting it into practice. I asked her why that was and she said, “Because I have no subordinates to delegate to.” Not to be foiled in the point I was trying to make, I responded that she needed to learn the skills of delegating upward to her boss and laterally to her peers.
To determine whether you are maximizing your delegation opportunities, ask yourself some questions. Are you doing work that someone else should be doing? Is there work on your desk or in your inbox that can be — or should be — done by someone else? If so, DELEGATE that work and make sure it never reaches your desk again. Prior to delegation, it is certainly prudent to ensure that the person you delegate the work to has the education, experience and skills to perform the work at a satisfactory level. You want the work to be done in the right order and the right way. It is also not a bad idea to secure the delegate’s commitment and buy-in to the delegation.
Examples of tasks that must be delegated include:
- Weekly departmental reports
- Routine tasks that you happen to like to do
- A routine stockroom or inventory report
- Anything that is not important and not urgent
Another area where time can be saved is meetings. When the word “meeting” is used it always evokes smiles and grumbles from participants. We all have had good and not so good experiences with meetings. When my daughter, Tara, was in the third grade she had to stand up and tell her classmates what her daddy did. Kids in the third grade are 8, 9 and 10 years old and brutally honest. Tara, always Miss Prissy, popped up and said, “My daddy attends meetings.” Based on what she had heard at home in the evenings, I was a professional meeting attender. When I arrived home from work that evening, my wife, Georgia, told me Tara’s story. Like most others, I laughed at first, and then … maybe not so funny. I made a commitment that night to reduce my meeting time by 25 percent in the next 12 months. I do not think I achieved the 25 percent goal, but I got close, with maybe a 20 percent reduction. But even a 20 percent reduction in meeting time was a blessing. How did I do it? That might be the subject of my next blog? Stay tuned.
And then, it was time to end the session.
Think about how you currently delegate and manage meetings. How well is it working for you?
It is something to think about.
Hum … interesting.