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Great Delegators Give A Framework For Success


The high school I went to had Shop Class; metal-work, wood-work, fabrication. It was meant as exposure to career opportunities. For most of us, it was an excuse to use a lathe or something that made sparks.

Our teacher once delegated a team task to us – build something out of six sheets of paper, scissors, and some tape. The winning team would have a construct holding the most amount of weight.

Our team got stuck right into it. Taping, cutting, folding. Our design held the weight of a notebook…before slowly folding over.

Another team sat and talked about their experiences, things they’d seen which held significant weight. With a minute left, they rolled their paper into tubes, taped them individually, then together, proceeding to produce a sort of “silo-farm.” Their design won – roughly 15 textbooks of weight before it buckled.

The key difference between success and failure was our framework.

The framework my team operated within involved assumptions; assumptions about the necessity of cutting and the speed of completing the task.

Our competitor’s, however, considered the delegated goal and developed a framework for success. They focused on the goal of holding weight rather than trying to solve the problem quickly. Specifically, they saw having scissors doesn’t mean you need to use them and understood what shapes hold the most weight.

Unless you’re aiming to repeat the high school trial-and-error teaching method, great delegators give a framework for success. This will keep your employees from shooting in the dark like we did.

A framework is benchmarks for guidance or key aspects to be identified during a process.

For example, perhaps it’s saying “when you write your proposal, be sure to include A, B, C, and X.” Or maybe it’s reinforcing company culture and values to hone an employee’s decision-making skills over time.

Successful delegation must involve a clear framework.

What sort of framework for success have you given your employees on recent delegation tasks? Is it a framework every understands?

Delegate successfully. Give an outcome. Within a framework.

Want to Learn How to Delegate a Clear Outcome? The Delegation Dilemma: Intent vs. Impact