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Simon says, “Distribute work and responsibilities efficiently and fairly.”

Distributing assignments efficiently is a science in its own right; and Simon does it well. Being sure the right people are assigned to the right tasks is where it starts. It goes on to include being sure things are done in the right order, at the right time. The science of efficiency expands out to include avoiding bottlenecks, eliminating any loss of resources and materials, preventing errors and having to do things over again, and getting continuous feedback from customers. Achieving and maintaining efficiency is quite complex.

For Simon, though, there is an underlying dimension skilled leaders emphasize at least as much as maximizing the efficient conversion of resources into products and services that are fully responsive to the needs and interests of customers. Simon does not take advantage of anyone. The secret is there are obvious and not so obvious ways people are taken advantage of; and Simon avoids them all.

The most blatant abuse happens when a good team member has more and more work piled on top of work piled on yesterday. Another version of the same kind of abuse happens when work is given to someone just because the leader is not going to get any hassle or flack. Some people have positive attitudes and just do not say, “No,” when asked to do something. They are simply too nice for their own good; but fortunately, Simon understands even his best workhorse can be run too fast or pushed too hard. The best of them needs a good measure of oats and some time in the barn now and then.

Two other areas of unfairness and abuse are also worth noting. First, tolerating anyone’s not doing what is expected or doing less than is expected is unfair to others on the team. Letting shirkers get away with it does nothing but shift the burden unfairly onto others. Second, assuming everyone is equally efficient is wrong. This is particularly unfair to those who are unusually efficient. The exceptional few can routinely do a two-hour job in an hour and a half. Do you then expect them to do more work in the extra half hour? Simon does not think so. He will discuss options with them; but the choice is theirs. Simon certainly would not increase the load just because someone is especially efficient and hard-working.

There is a further but hidden area of unfairness even Simon can overlook if he is not very attentive. People should not be expected to do things they do not know how to do or do not know how to do well. The solution here is fairly simple. Identify individuals who do know how to do what is expected and add them to the team. For Simon, there is an even better solution. Train people who are already on the team to do the job, to do it well. They are already onboard, already committed to the mission, already vested in the team’s success. Simon knows it is always better to invest in those who are already on your team than to take a chance on newcomers. The Johnny-come-lately likely will do fine; but Simon prefers sticking with the horses that got him there, whenever he can.

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