Who … you gonna call?
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