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Simon says, “Delegate often and well.”

Delegation is, for Simon, a critical key to his success. He knows
leadership superstars have elevated effective delegation to an art form. In
fact, success with delegation is the single most important factor separating
leaders who achieve their mission-specific goals from those who do not.

Try this. Design a one legged stool. One end of the leg must be
attached to the stool and the other end can touch the ground at one single
point but cannot be in the ground or supported by anything else. The stool must
be functional, serving the usual purpose of being a place for a person to rest
those weary bones.

It is actually fairly easy. Get a board and attach the leg to it. Set
the stool up and sit on it. So long as you are sitting on it, your stool works
fine. The problem is, if you get up, your stool falls over. You have to do the
work of the missing legs yourself which works fine if you have nothing else to
do and are willing to sit on the stool forever. Now if you are not quite up to
eternity on the stool, you will need to make other arrangements: you have to

Since Simon is not about to spend his life sitting on the stool, he
has three rules for getting others on the team to pitch in. First, he
appropriately delegates tasks and duties. You see he does not pass on his
responsibilities. He is still responsible for the teams success; but others on
the team can and should help carry the load. This cannot be a “whomever
happens to be around” process. Simon is careful to only delegate to people
who have the skills and know-how to get the job done; they have to be up to it.

Second, Simon does not delegate a job to someone and then try to
manage it himself or second-guess the person who was assigned the job. His
reasons here are important. Simon is not going to sit on the stool and is not
about to hover around just to be sure the job gets done or it is not screwed
up. If he needs to do that, he might as well sit on the stool himself. More
importantly, second guessing and a hands-on approach with delegated tasks would
mean he did not have much confidence in the person given the assignment. If
that is where it is, Simon screwed up. He delegated inappropriately: he picked
the wrong person to hold up the stool.

Third, Simon always delegates enough authority so the person can get
the job done. This does not mean he gives anyone an unlimited, free reign. What
each person does must fit with everyone else’s activities. The team needs to
work together as a team. At the same time, each team member needs the freedom
and authority to do what needs done.

Simon does not get into “Mother, may I?” It certainly is not
a “Check with me at every step along the way for authorization,”
approach for Simon’s team. Those on the team are competent, make good choices
and decisions, and can be trusted to do the right things right. If this is not
true, Simon needs to reexamine who is on his team and think about who may need
to be replaced. Nonetheless, not to give people the authority they need to get
the job done would mean Simon does not quite trust, does not really believe. It
would also mean he is still holding up the stool instead of getting on with
getting on down the road.

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