January 2018


Organizational health is a fascinating subject. Organizations, like other evolving things in nature, are created by someone and follow predictable patterns as they move from start-up through various phases until they become full-fledged. Then new processes emerge, and the organizational evolution continues. In the interim, roles and responsibilities collide and shift as new staff and functions are added, deleted, and refined. Throughout, the functions of planning, organizing, staffing, coordinating, communicating, and evaluating are granted changing priority depending on the knowledge and skill of management.

As the organizational change process evolves, delegation becomes increasingly important. Delegation is a science and an art. To realize its ultimate effectiveness, delegation entails figuring out who should do what in terms of knowledge and skills and who is equipped to do what in terms of competency and commitment. Sometimes these work in tandem, but often they do not, and that's where art enters the picture. Managers and leaders exist to allocate and balance scarce resources: People, equipment, money, etc. Where there is no scarcity, management is really unnecessary. The work of leaders and managers is often load-leveling: Quickly identifying gaps and overlaps and making adjustments that keep the production process in balance.

Delegation is also a great developmental tool. It provides the opportunity for people who want to do more, grow in their positions, and be competitive for greater future responsibilities to demonstrate potential through temporary and special assignments. They can meet the demands of new and sudden organizational needs and recognize capable performers with visibility and new learning. Delegation is an important, indispensable tool. Leaders can improve their own effectiveness by focusing in on things they alone can do. If someone else can do it, the leader should not.

Effectiveness, efficiency, and profitability are best served by work done at the lowest level where the expertise lies to do it! Otherwise, the organization ends up chasing the cycle of paying more for the same or less.

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