The Art of Delegating Ė donít take the monkey!

The Open Door

As I walk past them they look up into my eyes, but I can't hide anything. They can see inscribed in both my eyeballs a cheery "Good Morning." I walk past them, past my secretary, into my office; and my secretary notices another change in my behaviour. I forgot to shut my door! Not in the ten years she's worked for me have I ever before forgotten to shut my door first thing in the morning! †

I sit behind my desk and say, "Mabel, who's first?" She says, "Uh, what?" I say, "Who's first?" She says, "Mr. Stancombe, do you mean you want to see somebody?" I say, "Don't torment me, I never wanted to see anybody in my life like I want to see somebody now! Send him in." So she says, "George is first." I say, "Fine. Send him in." George comes in. I say, "George, sit down. What can I do for you?" And George says, "Stancombe, everything is going to pieces. We've got those two truck drivers down there in Mobile, Alabama. They've been on a coffee break for six weeks now and want permission to throw in a hamburger. Things are going to pot. Nothing has been shipped out of Birmingham for eight weeks. Stancombe, you are the worst procrastinator in this company, and I have to get something done!" Then he spends an hour going through the horrible consequences of my procrastination, every one of them true! George is one of the most loyal assistant regional managers I have ever had, and he would rather see the world come to an end than let our region show up badly compared to other regions. Gradually he works himself into such a frenzy that at the end of the hour he collapses in his chair - a complete emotional wreck.

When he's finished, all broken up over it, I calmly put my feet up on my desk, smilingly fold my arms, and say to him, "George, you may not believe this, but I'm more broken up over all of this than you are." And for some strange reason he doesn't believe it. "Moreover, George, I have it all figured out." He says, "You have?" I say, "Yeah, nothing to it." And with that I reach into my jacket pockets, pants pockets, hip pockets, shirt pocket, inside jacket pockets and retrieve the sixteen scraps of paper on which I had scribbled those monkeys. I lay them on my desk under his chin like a pile of confetti, and he says, "What's that?" I say, "Donít you recognise them, George? Those are the sixteen decisions that are holding you up." He says, "Well, what do you want me to do with them?"

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