Delegation (2): the hardest part

Delegating well (speccing the task, sharing your overall intent, context and resources) is a vital skill. But the hardest most elusive, and most important part* is finding out what will make a person care enough to do something consistently well – or even to do it at all. Things like: They think it’s important too (because they already did) They…

Delegation template

A draft template of things to include when delegating something: The job in a sentence: (So that the delegatee immediately knows what’s going on) When it must be done by: (Good to know now, likely that they’ll refer back for this so it’s nice to have it at the top) Relevant background: As much context as is helpful – it…

Your team of AIs

Kevin Kelly’s writing about AI, and specifically types of AI (rather than the monolithic general-intelligence-that’s-smarter-than-we-are-and-gets-rapidly-smarter-still that we worry about) has got me thinking about my colleagues: is it helpful to imagine them as if they were AIs available for collaboration? It raises thoughts and questions like: They are really smart and very valuable collaborators; What is their intelligence optimised for?…

If someone keeps letting you down

Because you’re waiting for their help, but they don’t make time; Or don’t do what they say they’ll do; Or do it badly; Or can’t do the job they’ve been given; Or only do it inconsistently; Or aren’t engaged when you need them to be; Or damage relationships and reputations; Or otherwise hold you or others back… It’s probably time…

“What can I do?”

… is the question you’ve been waiting to be asked, and it deserves your full attention. Who’s asking? What are they doing now? What can they do? What could they do? (Should you tell them? Should you ask them to tell you?) What else will it take from you to make it happen? Un-busy yourself, spend some time thinking about…

Satrijo Tanudjojo on collaboration as skill and commitment

We may be different, but we can work together. When you leave the community you grew up in you will see differences, especially when you visit other countries or continents. Diversity is the reality of God’s creation – and it is beautiful. As I’ve moved around the world, lived and worked in ten different environments, with different cultures and religions,…

Grace and mistakes

I’m a big believer in grace and second (and third) chances; I wouldn’t, couldn’t live without them. In the absence of enough information to make an unambiguously correct decision (for example, in a disciplinary matter) I think it’s better to make a mistake on the side of generosity, kindness and benefit of the doubt rather than than to make the…

Responsibility: who pays?

Taking responsibility means that you commit to doing what’s necessary to make something happen – and that you pay for your mistakes. We are often reluctant about the second part – I think with good intentions. But if people keep making the same mistakes at someone else’s expense, there’s a good chance that they don’t really understand the cost. Having…

Freedom to the nose (2): stealing at work

How free are you at work? How free are the people you’re responsible for? “As free as possible,” is a good answer, but there are some clear limits: no-one is allowed to hurt people physically (freedom to the nose) or to steal the property of the organisation (or other people). Intangible theft – stealing time, for example – is harder…

Knowing better (2): How we know

How do we come to know better? There are a range of experiences (I hesitate to call them a hierarchy) that lead us from knowing better in our heads (as an abstract idea) to knowing something deeply as experienced truth (i.e. knowing better “in our knower,” to borrow a phrase). The non-hierarchy of skippable stages* would seem to go: Hearing…