Who … you gonna call?

ID-10097475 by Stuart MilesRight now, I’m thinking about “who.”

You can come at “who” from a couple angles.  I’m going to focus on the person or people involved in carrying out an initiative.

Consider everything a project – launching a new gadget into the marketplace, targeting donors, even planning a summer vacation or divvying up household responsibilities.   Let’s assume that you are in charge (some would call you the project leader, but in your personal life it sounds a bit formal, doesn’t it?).   Your success will rely on others.

Discuss up front who is going to do what.  Leaders almost always rely in part on others to roll out a project effectively.  Trouble arises, however, when you or your team assume someone else is picking up a responsibility, but you don’t confirm.

Even if George always arranges for the lunch, check that he is ready to do it this time.  Who knows, he might be taking on a new role or going on vacation.  On the home front, imagine you are across town and the sinking feeling when you hear on the phone, “But I thought you were picking up the kids from practice.”  Be specific.  Do not assume.

As a leader you can often simply assign.  Sometimes that’s fine.  However, you might want to ask for volunteers if you don’t have a compelling reason to ask George or Mary to own a task.   In any case, make sure everyone knows.  Depending on the situation, I will often verbally repeat responsibilities and then send them out in writing as well.  With a family member, that approach is usually over-kill, but you get the idea.

Be crystal clear on who’s responsible.  It’s golden.

Image courtesy of Miles Stuart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Pamela approaches marketing with particular focus on strategy, innovation and new item introduction. She has Fortune 500 brand and agency experience across both consumer products and services industries. Respected as a collaborative problem solver, Pamela has a knack for improving process as she navigates the ups and downs of seeing strategy and projects bear fruit. Pamela hails from Asheville, NC and is a graduate of Williams College and the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina.

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