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Effective delegation and monkey management
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Effective delegation and monkey management

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When someone on your team comes to you with a problem and you agree, consciously or otherwise, to do something about it, the monkey is now off their back and on yours. How can managers avoid these …

When someone on your team comes to you with a problem and you agree, consciously or otherwise, to do something about it, the monkey is now off their back and on yours. How can managers avoid these “upward-leaping” monkeys? This session, inspired by the book “The One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey,” will provide insights into effective delegation, with an emphasis on how managers, team leaders, and project managers – pretty much anyone who finds themselves in a managing role – can meet their own priorities, give back other people’s monkeys, and help people learn to solve their own problems.

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  • 1. Effective Delegation a.k.a., Managing the Monkeys inYour Workplace Presented by: Steve Urquhart Orange County Clerk of Courts It’s a jungle out there!
  • 2. If your last status meeting looked anything like this …
  • 3. … or if you can relate to this:  How is it possible that I am working overtime and still running out of time, every day, while my team goes home right on time as if they don’t have enough to do?
  • 4. … then this session is for you!
  • 5. Do you ever find yourself asking Who’s actually in charge around this place?
  • 6. Are you controlling events … … or are events controlling you?
  • 7. No matter how much I do …  Why is it that I’ve increased my efficiency, but now I have more to do?  Wherever I go, hallway, elevator, parking lot … even the restroom … my team needs something from me!  I’m working overtime on things my team needs from me before they can proceed with their assigned tasks … You need to be asking yourself …
  • 8. Who’s got the monkey? William Oncken, Jr. … the tale of an overburdened manager who allows his employees to delegate upward.
  • 9. Be on the lookout for monkeys!
  • 10. What is a monkey?  Monkeys are issues/actions that people bring to you to solve.  The “monkey on your back” metaphor describes issues, and the ownership of issues.  Issues may be problems, tasks or other items at work that you need to resolve.  They can come from just about anywhere, without warning … and you have to manage them!
  • 11. Upward-leaping monkeys! From a subordinate or team member to their boss, project manager, program manager, etc.
  • 12. Downward-leaping monkeys! From a higher-level manager, i.e., your boss …
  • 13. Sideways-leaping monkeys! Shifting peer-to-peer
  • 14. In brief …
  • 15. Six rules for managing monkeys 1. Monkeys should be fed or shot 2. Every monkey should have an assigned feeding time and a degree of initiative 3. The monkey population should be kept “manage-able” … 4. Monkeys should be fed by appointment only 5. Monkey feeding appointments may be rescheduled … 6. Monkeys shall be fed face to face …
  • 16. “Case Study” WHAT DOYOU NEED, NEW GUY? I’M BUSY … MEET “NEW GUY” … HE JUST STARTED HERE … AND HIS BOSS, THE PROGRAM MANAGER BOSS?
  • 17. “Case Study” I’M HAVING PROBLEMS WITH THIS SPEC, CAN YOUTAKE A LOOK AT IT? KINDA BUSY RIGHT NOW, LET ME GET BACKTOYOU LATER THURSDAY AFTERNOON, ABOUT 5:45 PM
  • 18. “Case Study” HEY, HAVEYOU HAD A CHANCETO LOOK OVER THAT SPECYET? UM, NO. I’LL REVIEW IT THISWEEKENDAND GET BACKTOYOU FRIDAY MORNING, ABOUT 9:30 AM
  • 19. “Case Study” WHAT’STHE STATUS OF THAT SPEC I GAVEYOU TO LOOK AT LASTWEEK? MONDAY MORNING, ABOUT 11:00 AM KINDA BUSY RIGHT NOW, LET ME GET
  • 20. Do you ever find yourself asking Who’s actually in charge around this place?
  • 21. New mantra: At no time while I am helping you will your problem become my problem.The instant your problem becomes mine, you will no longer have a problem. I cannot help someone who hasn't got a problem. You may ask my help at any appointed time, and we will make a joint determination of what the next move will be and who will make it.
  • 22. Some common symptoms of ineffective monkey management …  You’re tempted to change your LinkedIn headline to Firefighter because you spend your day in “management by crisis” mode.  At the end of the work day, you’ve crossed nothing off on your To-Do list but you’ve hardly had a minute to spare.  Your briefcase, cell phone, or planner has to be surgically removed from your hand.  You find yourself heading straight for the produce section of your local supermarket because of a craving for bananas!
  • 23. Monkeys should be fed or shot  No one likes a starving monkey.They tend to be very disagreeable and squeal and raise a ruckus. Monkeys must be fed periodically.  The problem (the monkey) must be dealt with between the manager and the employee with the problem on a regular basis. If the monkey can be shot (the problem solved quickly), then feeding times are not necessary.
  • 24. Every monkey should have an assigned feeding time …  After a feeding session, the manager should select an appropriate time for the next feeding and should have a number of action steps for the employee to take.
  • 25. … and a degree of initiative 5. Act on their own; routine reporting 4. Act, but advise at once 3. Recommend, then take resulting action 2. Ask what to do 1. Wait until told Levels 1 and 2 are the biggest sources of monkeys!
  • 26. The monkey population should be kept “manage-able” …  It should take 15 minutes (or less) to feed a monkey  Managers should keep the list of problems that are in various stages of solution at a manageable number.
  • 27. Monkeys should be fed by appointment only  Allowing employees to bring problems to you on their timetable increases the chances that the monkey will move from the employee to the manager.  By setting specific times for addressing the problem, managers empower employees to make interim decisions about the problem, and still report back.
  • 28. Monkey feeding appointments may be rescheduled …  Either party, the manager or the team member (subordinate), may reschedule a feeding appointment for any reason, but it must be scheduled to a specific time to avoid losing track of the monkey.
  • 29. Monkeys shall be fed face to face …  Holding feeding sessions via e-mail or memo transfers the monkey to the manager.  An employee can “pass the monkey” to the manager by simply requesting a response.  Feedings that take place in person or on the phone require the monkey to remain with the employee unless the manager takes an affirmative step to take it. (or by telephone, but not in writing)
  • 30. Rules that apply for all monkeys 1. Define the monkey: It must be fully described.That is, the next move must be known. 2. Assign the monkey: It must be fully owned. Whose monkey is it? 3. “Insure” the monkey: It must be insured, based on risk.What if you give an important project to someone who is not ready? How can you balance the personal growth of your people with acceptable risk to your own reputation and career. 4. Put the monkey on a schedule: It must be placed on a care and feeding schedule.When, where, and how do you follow up?
  • 31. Some typical reasons not to delegate? (a.k.a., excuses)  "Delegating would mean giving up power and control."  "Delegating makes me nonessential."  "Delegating is not worth the time -- I can do the job myself faster and better."  "I can't count on my team to handle this."
  • 32. The Four Cs of getting comfortable with delegating  Confidence. Be convinced that this person can do it. If not, use insurance policy: recommend, then act; or work with them not for them.  Clarify expectations and be reasonably sure your team members know what is to be done.Verify understanding by having them  Be Certain the person has sufficient resources-- time, information, money, people, assistance, and authority--to do the work.  Don’t turn over Control until your are confident that the cost and timing and quantity and quality of the project will be acceptable. Have them get back to you with their work plan.
  • 33. Delegation vs. abdication … There are a few things that you should not delegate:  Performance feedback  Disciplinary actions  Politically sensitive tasks  Confrontations arising from interpersonal conflict
  • 34. In Brief: Oncken’s Rules of Monkey Management 1. Descriptions: The next moves are specified. 2. Owners: The monkey is assigned to a person. 3. Insurance: The risk is covered. 4. Care & Feeding: The time and place for check-up/follow-up is specified.
  • 35. Just don’t let this be you …
  • 36. THANKYOU! @workforce101 /in/steveurquhart steveurquhart@gmail.com