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

George vs. Douglas McGregor

The following day he comes in with his cards, and I can't wait to see how he dealt them. So I say, "Good morning, George. You want to lay your cards here on my desk? Lay your decisions in a pile over there and mine over here." He does. And would you believe what he did? Three cards in his pile and thirteen in mine! I look heavenward, and I say, "Douglas McGregor would roll over in his grave if he could see this. Douglas McGregor said, “People would rather assume responsibility than not. They would rather take initiative than not.” (He never knew George.) Nevertheless, I don't talk to George in that way. I'm not in the business of tearing men down; I'm in the business of building them up. So instead I say, pointing to what he did, "George, that's a very interesting beginning! I would like you now to pull out of your pile the card that bears the decision that you feel is the most urgently in need of attention." So he pulls one of the cards out of his pile of three."  

Replacement Planning

I interrupt him: "George, I hope you realize what you just did. You just created a vacancy in your pile. Now, therefore between now and the next time we meet, I want you to take my pile of thirteen and find a suitable replacement for it. I would hate for you to run out of decisions." That is called "production planning and control." Now that it has been decided, by his own hand that decision-making is indeed a regular part of his job, it would be tragic for him to run out of raw materials inventory. Then I say, "George, by when will you make that decision?" He looks at it, and, says, "Well, Stancombe, that decision is going to take me at least three weeks."
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