Whenever you want to achieve something, big or small, somebody has to be in charge of getting it done. You can’t simply have, say, a planning meeting, agree on objectives and what steps need to be taken, and then all go on your merry way without assigning specific responsibilities for achieving outcomes. That’s a recipe guaranteed to result in lack of progress, or outright regression, in achieving your goals.

Here are some questions you need to ask yourself to facilitate this process:

  • What is the objective?
  • How important is it?
  • When does it need to be achieved?
  • Who is the best person to carry it out? This could be based on function within the organization or simply be the best performer on your team.
  • Have you told them they are the best person to carry it out?
  • What resources do they need to achieve it?
  • What is the milestone?
  • How will you measure performance and progress in achieving it?
  • Are there others that must or should contribute, support, or otherwise cooperate with this individual?
  • Have you made it clear, either in writing or orally, that they are the person responsible for this?
  • Does everyone else in the team know this to be the case?

These may be very basic questions, but it is amazing how many times planning sessions or meetings end without a clear assignment of responsibilities, with identification of resources (if required), milestones or deadlines, or even simple performance metrics. Tomorrow I’ll describe a simple but highly effective way to ensure you’ve given clear and unambiguous direction. It is based on military principles, as described in my forthcoming book, Brilliant Manoeuvres: How to Use Military Wisdom to Win Business Battles.

© 2012 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes permitted with full and proper attribution.

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