Keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing

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Don’t play favorites, just work on getting the best qualified people focused on what they do best, and get out of the way.

Don’t play favorites, just work on getting the best qualified people focused on what they do best, and get out of the way.

by Walter W. McIntyre

One of the challenges that we have as leaders is to keep our eye on the ball. Since we are responsible for driving our organizations on a daily basis with the least amount of resources possible, and at the same time achieving the greatest value possible, we cannot afford to get distracted by non-core issues.

When the boat is sinking, the color of the bailing bucket is not all that important. Yet, all of us have seen leaders get caught up in issues that do not move the organization forward. Examples of issues that get in the way of progress are office politics, finger pointing, whose job it is, etc.

This is related to a leader’s ability to do what they are uniquely tasked to do and delegate the rest. A leader who is busy making decisions that should be made by others is, by definition, not busy making decisions that only they can make. This inefficiency leads to mistakes, demotivation and re-work.

Let’s apply some management 5S to the problem.

Sort: Separate what takes you to the finish line and what does not. Get rid of tasks and decisions that do not need to be dealt with right now (or ever). Remove politics and finger pointing. Reward those who take responsibility. Have meetings only when meetings are necessary and keep them short.

Select: Every task is assigned to the person or group most qualified to complete it according to the demands of the business environment. Don’t play favorites, just work on getting the best qualified people focused on what they do best, and get out of the way.

Shine: Re-assign tasks to appropriate individuals or groups. Delete tasks from all individuals and groups that are not essential to their core mission, or need to be given to another person or group. Try to make sure that you can praise the results of the assigned tasks.

Standardize: Document the decision and task matrix. That matrix describes who should be making what decisions on what criteria and who should be completing what tasks according to what criteria. Use these matrices going forward to avoid backsliding into inefficiencies in the future. Indeed, these matrices establish accountabilities.

Sustain: Audit the team’s task and decision matrices frequently enough to maintain organization effectiveness.

The 5S principles can be applied to just about any business process. I encourage you to get out of the box and think like a champion..

 

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