The Anchor of Delegation
Understanding why a task needs to be done a certain way is the anchor of mastering delegation. When the person to whom you are delegating understands why they need to do it, it increases the likelihood they will put forth a good effort and complete the task as requested.
For example, I was delegating the documentation of the in-office systems to two individuals–one clinical and one administrative. We had several discussions. One was about why this task was so important. I explained that it was important that we were very accurate in our documentation process because we wanted to be detailed in such a way that we could give this to a Grade 10 student and they could come in and do that job. That’s what we wanted. I asked if we were clear about what we wanted and my delegates said okay. I explained further–this was important because it was going to reduce the time that we spent training people. It was going to reduce the frustration the office managers experienced. It was going to minimize mistakes and it was going to allow us to hold people accountable when they came on board. No longer would we have a receptionist say, “I didn’t know I was supposed to do it like that,” because now we had that accountability tool. The documentation would allow us to provide great service and live out our mission.
So now they understood why. If I wasn’t thorough in my explanation, my delegates would question why they needed to do this six-months worth of hard work. That is clear when you delegate.
A beautiful statement from Simon Sinek in his book Start With Why is, “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe.”
He is referring more to getting buy-in to a mission and vision. I have successfully implemented this concept in mastering the art of delegation, or simply getting stuff done. Here is his Golden Circle:
Starting at the center is a discussion of WHY. In other words, what is your purpose? When you explain the why of the task, you achieve a fundamental understanding of the true accomplishment needed. Remember the product of the product???? Same applies here. The why is the product of the product at the task level. If people understand why you’re asking them to do a task, you increase the chances of getting the best work from them.
You will get their best work in the HOW, which is the process–the specific actions taken to realize the why. These are the steps needed to generate some sort of result that demonstrates we have achieved the why.
Those results are the WHAT–the result of the why, or the proof.
Let’s recap my example of delegation from earlier:
When they know the why, they know its importance. The results are not just incremental. They are exponential. I found that when I explained the WHY and we explored the HOW together, the WHAT achieved far more than what I expected. That’s because I have empowered our people to do what they are good at. They often found solutions that were 100x better than I would have thought.