The Art of Delegating – don’t take the monkey!

They Want Their Monkeys Back

But why are they out there? I'll tell you why! Earlier this afternoon the were sitting behind their desks, too, and they got to thinking about what they were going to do over the weekend. When they got done thinking about that, their minds turned to Monday, and they decided that, with a couple of hours left, they’d plan their work for Monday. But when they looked at their desks, they recognized that they had nothing left to plan! Because during the last several weeks, they had surrendered to me every significant next move and every significant initiative in their jobs. Having no initiatives left to take, having no next moves left to make, they finally assembled­ outside my office. Why? Because they want their monkeys back! I have them all!  

Planning the Solution

So now I have my work cut out for me. I am going to get caught up in the very obvious way of coming to the office over the weekend to make the sixteen decisions that are holding up George. (This is feasible because I have a camp bed and a microwave there.) Then I can call him into my office on Monday morning and snap these decisions off to him with the precision of an able executive so that he will then leave my office a released individual, walking on Cloud Nine, highly motivated to do battle with his job. I'm going to read every one of Mike's fifty progress reports, come up with a definitive response to everything he asked me in those reports, call him into my office on Monday morning, and snap them off to him with unambiguous precision so he, too, will leave my office a released individual, walking on Cloud Nine, to do battle with his job. I'll do similar things for Valerie and Dave, also.  

Four Chiefs to One Indian

It is now five o'clock. Time to go home. Well, how am I going to go home? The usual way would be, of course, to get up from behind my desk, walk out of my office door, down the hallway and down the stairs to the parking lot. But if I do that, I'll pass these people as I go. Now I ask you once again: with respect to these sixty screaming monkeys I've got in my briefcase, who's got the supervisory role? They have! Who's got the worker role? I have! And what will they say to me as I walk by? "Hi, Boss. How's it coming?" Here I am, a hard-working, loyal, devoted "employee" of this company working under the supervision of four "managers" who are constantly asking me to be accountable for the things that they have given me to do: they have mastered the twin arts of assigning work and the even more difficult art of follow-up. That's the situation, but I don't see it yet. So instead of walking past that gauntlet, I tear up my sofa and tie the fabric into a knotted rope; I sling one end out of the window, secure the other to a radiator, and let myself down three stories hand-over­hand, like an escaping convict, to the parking lot below, jump in the car, and drive home.
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