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Name of author Rick Baker, P.Eng.

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On Indecision

by Rick Baker
On Feb 1, 2016

[No text]

Tags:

Delegation & Decisions

The King gets to make a mess

by Rick Baker
On Jan 21, 2016

The King gets to make a mess, others get to clean it up...and some, the privileged ones, get to analyze it.

How does that make you feel?

Now, I recognize some folks are not in favour of monarchies. Probably, I have with those few words put them off and they have already moved on to other things, forgetting the insolent annoyance embedded in the title of this thought post. At the other end of the sceptre, some folks want to be King...if only in fleeting mind-exercises...if only in their little business castles or their home castles.

Regardless...

It is true, Kings get to make messes.

As just one example...

While I'm writing this I have Henry VIII in mind. Now, that fellow really got to make some messes. Even if we ignore the messes made by his executioners/staff, Henry VIII personally made some colossal messes. He was a large man, some say he had a waist over 50”. The King had the habit of sitting on royal stools and making messes. The elite of his servants/staff got to clean up all his messes. And the prize job – the Groom of the Stool – had the privilege of analyzing the King’s messes.

So, it is very hard to argue against the time-proven fact. Kings get to make messes, others get to clean them up...and some, the privileged ones, get to analyze them.

You may be wondering, how does this apply to business?

That’s a very good question.

…and the answer depends on your role.

…the King?...a servant of the King?...the Groom of the Stool?

 

 

Hyper-Delegation

by Rick Baker
On Jun 3, 2015

Sometimes delegation takes its suspenders firmly with both hands and tugs sharply to hoist itself to a whole new level known as hyper-delegation.

It can be painful to think about this hyper-delegation process let alone experience hyper-delegation first-hand as a recipient or even watch it as a bystander.

Delegation, in standard form, means assigning work from one person to another person in situations where the work is understood by both the donor of the assignment and the recipient of the assignment.

Hyper-delegation doesn’t worry itself with those sorts of complications and constraints.

Hyper-delegation delegates anything and everything, any time and everywhere.

***

Lifting yourself up by your hyper-delegation suspenders…like the double-edged sword [except, obviously, much duller]…cuts both ways.

Painful to watch.

Painful to experience.

Yes, painful hyper-delegation.

***

Tags:

Delegation & Decisions

Why not take a SWOT at everything?

by Rick Baker
On Feb 5, 2015

Certainly we should take at SWOT at strategic planning exercises.

But why not take a SWOT at other things?

Why not take a SWOT at decision-making? For example, we could use SWOT when determining how to solve a problem or how to come up with various solutions for problems: we can use the 4 SWOT perspectives to generate solutions [IDEATION] or to test solutions [INTELLECTION] or both.

Why not take a SWOT at hiring decisions? We could assess various candidates under the 4 SWOT perspectives.

Why not use SWOT to fight perfectionism? If are not happy with another person's work we can look at that work from the 4 SWOT perspectives…as a test for reasonableness. Particularly, we can look at the risks and or the threats associated with accepting their work. And we can couple that SWOT with the ‘80% Rule’ where - if the work is 80% is good as we could do it ourselves then there's no need to be working to create a better solution. Obviously, this ties in with delegation – so, we can use SWOT to help us delegate more effectively.

When you think about it, we can take a SWOT at almost everything!

Tags:

Delegation & Decisions | Solutions & Opportunities

Empowering people for great decisions - expanded

by Rick Baker
On Dec 16, 2014

Of course, good leaders want to:

  • Do a good job at delegating authority for decision making
  • Empower people so they are motivated to expand their decision making

Here are a couple of important considerations:

  • Delegation must be consistent…people need to be told the rules and the extent of their authorities
  • Delegation must be communicated…it is not enough to say “Our people are empowered to make decisions”. It is important to ensure people understand how and when their authorities should be exercised. It is important to ensure people understand your decisions can be questioned…’within bounds’.

How should we go about setting up Decision-Making authorities so people are empowered? Leaders - here is simple way to approach this: consider the people who directly report to you then have those people perform the same exercise for the people reporting to them. 

According to Brian Tracy there are 3 types of decisions:

  • Command Decisions: decisions made by the Leader alone
  • Consultative Decisions: decisions made by the Leader after the Leader has consulted with his/her direct reports [and other folks, as required]
  • Consensus Decisions: decisions where the Leader delegates the decision-making authority to his/her Leadership team…i.e., like the others, the Leader gets a single vote 

As mentioned above, communication is important. The first step is informing everyone you think it makes sense to follow Brian Tracy’s advice and use 3 types of decisions. After that, start by saying, “This is a consultative decision” or “This is a consensus decision” or “This is a command decision”. This probably will not be required because people will understand the decision type by the way you introduce the decision. On the other hand, there is no harm in making sure by saying things like “I would like to consult you about this” or “Can we come to group consensus about this” or “I have made the following decision’. When in doubt – over-communicate. 

About Command Decisions

I tell people I have a 10-3-1 Rule:

  • For every 10 command decisions I make I expect about 3 will be questioned
  • For every 10 command decisions I make I expect about 1 to be strongly resisted, questioned, and argued against

Why? It seems to me 10-3-1 is about the right ratio. When I make command decisions I will make mistakes…hopefully, I do not err more than 3 times out of 10 decisions. If I do then I should not be the boss. Occasionally I will make a glaring mistake…hopefully; I do not do that more than 1 time out of 10 decisions.

My communication of my 10-3-1 Rule is an effort to ensure everyone is comfortable questioning my decisions…’within bounds’. It is an effort to establish boundaries for command decisions:

  • command decisions should not be taken as absolute, unquestionable commands…I don’t want to be surrounded by automatons or sycophants…I do want to be surrounded by quality-thinking, curious people
  • command decisions should not be subject to excessive questions or objections…a level of questioning and objection is healthy…excessive questioning and objection is a signal of a problem
  • people on leadership teams do better when they know the rules

 *** 

According to Dale Carnegie... 

"When Theodore Roosevelt was in the White House, he confessed that if he could be right 75 percent of the time, he would reach the highest measure of his expectation."  

About Roosevelt's 75%... that supports the selection of 3 in 10-3-1...or, at least, it suggests having 3 of 10 decisions questioned is in the right ballpark.

Tags:

Communication: Improving Communication | Delegation & Decisions

When you stop and think about it...

by Rick Baker
On Dec 8, 2014

About that decision you just made:

  • What goal were you trying to achieve? 
  • What options did you consider? 
  • How do you know this decision is the best option?

Of course, when you believe you are too busy you will not stop to think about these sorts of things...you will just continue to 'do stuff'. 

How's that working out for you?

If it's working out well then that's good news.

If it's not working out well, you can consider a different approach...like asking yourself a short series of questions.

For example: 

  • What goal were you trying to achieve? 
  • What options did you consider? 
  • How do you know this decision is the best option?

Copyright © 2012. W.F.C (Rick) Baker. All Rights Reserved.