I have yet to meet a Compliance Officer or Manager who is not a natural ‘doer’ – a generator and completer of tasks.
On one level, being a ‘doer’ is amazing – it’s an honourable approach to establishing and securing your value to your firm, and the firms that you work with.
BUT, as you get busier, this eagerness to do it all, which will have become well and truly habitual, will now be holding you back. As the complexities of the compliance landscape continue to grow, your truest value to your firm and those you work with will be in your ability to see ahead – to anticipate and then interpret the impacts that any future changes will have on those that you support. Fact: you won’t be able to do this if you are knee-deep in compliance administration and file checks!
The art of delegation will be the key to unlocking both your and the firm’s truest potential.
The challenge comprises both resources and trust, but when both of these are in place you will be able to pivot and respond quickly to where help is needed the most.
I think that, even at the best times, effective delegation is a tricky skill to master in a sector of perfectionist control freaks (I say this with love of course!). Although we try very hard to remember that other people have good ideas and are very capable of getting stuff done, many of us tend to believe that our way is the only right way!
The art of delegation will be the key to unlocking both your and the firm’s truest potential
Ultimately, teamwork and true collaboration are necessary to our own, and our business’s, success, which is why it is essential to have a robust and scalable process in place for delegating and getting stuff done.
The challenge of effective delegation is very real, but our three-step solution is so simple:
- Delegation is an art
- Trust before you have any reason to! Innocent until proven guilty, and empower NOT overpower, are two of my favourite sayings. But they are not just sayings, they are frameworks for producing our best work!
- If the required tasks need to be completed by someone else, it is vital that the handover process is effective. A misunderstood task could result in catastrophic outcomes, and is to be avoided at all costs. Be clear about what is expected and make sure that the person undertaking the tasks has all the information they need from the outset.
- Adequate time should be allocated to handing over key tasks. Notes should be taken to make sure that the instructions and details are clear,and can be recalled at a later point if
- Be clear on both the minimum and desired outcomes. Ambiguity doesn’t help anyone!
- During the handover meeting (which should be scheduled into all diaries),both parties should be clear about the work involved and the time allocated to complete Any potential issues should be raised, discussed and resolved at this point.
- Agree check-in points. It’s no good discussing what needs to be done at the start but then not again until the end. You don’t want anyone to go off-track and waste time. Work-in-progress meetings are recommended.
- Once the action points have been agreed, these tasks should be incorporated into the master ‘to do’ list(see below), task planner or project planner.
- Deadlines are a must
Everyone needs a deadline, and the primary rule is that no task should be delegated or requested without a deadline attached. We are all really busy, we all have more stuff on our to-do lists than we have hours in the day, so the main purpose of a deadline is to focus the mind – be that your mind or someone else’s.
Think about it – when you’re facing a mountain of tasks, after the initial panic of ‘How the hell am I going to get all of this stuff done?’, the question becomes ‘What do I focus on first?’ Most people are drawn to starting and (hopefully) completing tasks that have specific deadlines attached to them. In fact, most people do their best work when a deadline is fast approaching and the pressure is on. Why? Focus… the deadline is forcing them to focus!
With an imminent deadline, there’s no time for faffing, over-thinking or procrastinating! It’s time to focus and get it done. So, even if there isn’t a deadline associated with a task, give it one (even if you have to make it up). Trust me… with a deadline, everyone’s a winner!
- Remember the rules (sneaky recap!)
There are only so many hours in the day – don’t over-commit or over-promise. If you do, you will only under-deliver!
- Being busy doesn’t mean you’re being productive!
- Lists and structures (whether held as hard or soft copies) are crucial to success! Learn to love lists and structures!
- There’s always a more effective and efficient way of doing something – so strive to find it!
- We are not designed to multi-task or multi-focus… so, wherever possible, don’t even attempt to!
With the world of work evolving daily, give yourself a break, stop trying to do everything yourself, ease-off on the obsession for everything to be perfect, sit back and for once see what others are capable of doing when given the trust and space to do so. Bring your dreamed-of projects to life!