We keep a chore chart in our home. My wife created it and each week she re-delegates the list of chores among our 4 children. A couple weeks ago, while one of my sons was taking out the garbage, my wife reminded him that he left his soccer cleats on the back patio. She instructed him to get them, clean off the dirt and put them in his closet, which he did.
About 15 minutes later I noticed the garbage bag that he was emptying sitting next to the island in our kitchen. I asked him why the garbage was still sitting there.
“I took it out!” He argued.
“I don’t think so…it’s sitting right here.” I returned.
About that time my wife showed up and joined the conversation.
My son continued to defend that he had taken the garbage out.
“But, it’s right here.” I said as I pointed to it hoping for a responsible answer.
“Dad,” He insisted, “I took it out.”
My wife and I looked at each other in dismay. “Son, do you understand the gravity of what you are suggesting? You are basically suggesting that you took the garbage out, placed it in the can, came in the house and then someone else went outside, opened the garbage can, took out the garbage and brought it back in the house.” I asked.
“Yup. That’s what must have happened cause I took it out.” He continued to defend.
“Is it possible that you just got distracted when I asked you to get your cleats off the patio?” my wife asked.
“Maybe we have garbage fairy’s that are trying to make you look bad,” I added.
All we got was a blank stare…
The lesson today is not about taking responsibility for our actions. That is for another day. Obviously, my wife and I had a teaching moment with our son. We discussed the idea of acknowledging and admitting his mistakes.
The point of today’s message is about distractions. In the case of our son, he got distracted from his task and, as a result, didn’t fulfill his responsibilities.
This same problem happens all the time in business and, just like my son, sometimes we completely forget that we were working on something or are responsible for a task.
Within the Level 7 System and specifically the Principle of Facilitating Compliance, we highly recommend that all delegations, ongoing tasks and project assignments are written down.
There are a lot of ways of doing this.
- Some of the businesses that are implementing Level 7 use MS Outlook quite effectively when it comes to assigning and keeping track of delegations and tasks.
- There is a nice online program that I recently discovered and some of my clients are currently using called www.Do.com. It’s very simple, currently free and integrate nicely with Google Apps accounts. It’s great for delegating and keeping track of tasks online.
- If your business hasn’t moved into the paper free zone yet, you can still use the yellow note pad method. Simply make sure that whenever a task is assigned, the person you delegated it to writes it down with the due date. They should cross it off once completed. You might also write it down too.
If a task is relevant enough to be delegated then it stands to reason that it should get completed. Don’t overlook the fine points that will make a difference between having a highly focused, super productive and highly effective business and one that lets a lot of important things slip through the cracks.
The bottom line is this, we have a lot to think about and have many distractions that come up each day. If you don’t effectively manage that ‘traffic’ we might end up with a bag of garbage laying around that shouldn’t be there.