Crimes of Cunning exposes the roots of the worst practices common in today’s big company cultures. Enjoy the ride as his characters cope, complain, and —ultimately— grow.
Delegation: Let’s keep it simple.
- Find someone who will accept responsibility for the desired outcome.
- Explain that you do not have the time and/or expertise to design the solution.
- Ask the person to propose an approach which you have some confidence (not certainty) will succeed with the resources agreed to, e.g., hours, budget, tools, deadline, etc.
- Don’t abdicate, delegate: follow-up frequently on progress and impediments to show that you still value the outcome, perhaps using something like my progress report format.
“Give as few orders as possible,” his father Duke Leto had told him… once… long ago. “Once you’ve given orders on a subject, you must always give orders on that subject.”
—Dune by Frank Herbert
p. 628 Penguin Publishing Group
Which tasks should you delegate? See this post, 3 Ds of Delegation
Here is a simple habit that can boost productivity in your organization. One client credits this technique for an 18% increase in annual revenue with a reduced headcount. It takes practice but quickly becomes second nature.
I brought this method into the workplace from my flight training. Pilots and air traffic controllers (ATC) must communicate precisely and briefly while also executing specialized tasks. Misunderstandings in aircraft can have horrible consequences, so specific communication techniques are required. Many of the most serious accidents are caused by failure to follow these practices, including the 1977’s Tenerife Airport Disaster, commercial aviation’s deadliest incident.
Talk may be cheap but miscommunication is costly.
Have you ever listened to the (more…)
Too many jobs are perfectly constructed to elicit inhumane behavior. Read my book to learn how it got this way.
The most fundamental lesson of our study:
Ordinary people, simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process.
Even when asked to carry out actions incompatible with fundamental standards of morality, relatively few people have the resources needed to resist authority.
—Professor Stanley Milgram, PhD
Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View
Perennial Classics 2009 p. 6.
Professor Milgram was responsible for two psychological studies that became well-known by the general public while having almost no positive influence on government or corporate structures, the “administer a painful shock” compliance experiment and the “Small World” six degrees of separation demonstration.
I am pleased and flattered that my clients, Chris Haddon and Jason Balin, gave specific, detailed credit to me and some of my techniques in their new book, The Whiteboard: Go From Blank Canvas to a Productive, Leveraged and Highly-Profitable Business. Here is just one paragraph.
We sought out our executive coach, Tony, to show us the most strategic, effective way to design our success. A business coach will help you make the right moves at that right times consistently; it’s a precise recipe for getting ahead. Our decision to partner with an executive coach has been a very fruitful investment. By working with Tony, we were able to meet our ten-year business goal in three years. That’s the power of having an expert help you structure your decisions and career movements on a regular basis. Having a career coach isn’t a luxury; it’s smart business and smart living.
Does your job trigger primitive survival instincts? My book presents alternatives.
Those best equipped to compete mercilessly for food, ward off any threat, dominate territory, and seek safety naturally passed along their genes, so these self-centered impulses could only intensify. But sometime after mammals appeared, they evolved what neuroscientists call the limbic system, perhaps about 120 million years ago. Formed over the core brain derived from the reptiles, the limbic system motivated all sorts of new behaviors, including the protection and nurture of young as well as the formation of alliances with other individuals that were invaluable in the struggle to survive. And so, for the first time, sentient beings possessed the capacity to cherish and care for creatures other than themselves.
Although these limbic emotions would never be as strong as the ‘me first’ drives still issuing from our reptilian core, we humans have evolved a substantial hard-wiring for empathy for other creatures, and especially for our fellow humans.
The method is as old as procrastination but has been attributed recently to billionaire comedian Jerry Seinfeld, as in this frequently cited LifeHacker article, where it is called Don’t Break the Chain. I prefer positive instructions, so let’s name it Link-a-Day.
Buy or make a simple, clean one year calendar. Do not just print your Outlook or Google calendar; those have too many distracting details for this purpose. You can start your own on any date and fit 365 days on one sheet by downloading my template here in Excel format or use the Google Sheets version here.
Place your calendar in the physical world rather than in a computer or app where it can hide. Hang it where you will see it everyday. I put mine on the wall right next to my computer monitor. After you complete the promised activity for the day, mark it complete. When you miss a day or two, start again. No regrets, no excuses. Just start again. You can play games with Link-a-Day by playing for a longer unbroken chain or a shorter gap than last time.
That’s it. As Aristotle observed, a person is what she consistently does. Use this to start doing something you will be proud to be.
Reston author Tony Mayo will meet readers, sign books, take questions, and conduct readings.
Small Business Saturday
Saturday after Thanksgiving
November 28, 2015
11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Reston’s Used Book Shop
Lake Anne Plaza
1623 Washington Plaza N
Reston, Virginia 20190 (703) 435-9772
My new novel Crimes of Cunning exposes the roots of some serious problems in today’s largest organizations. I much prefer owner-operated business, like those of my executive coaching clients–and independent booksellers.
I will be supporting Small Business Saturday™ with a book signing and reading at Reston’s favorite bookstore. Please join me there on the Saturday after American Thanksgiving.
Saturday, November 28
11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Reston’s Used Book Shop
Lake Anne Plaza
1623 Washington Plaza
Reston, Virginia 20190
Click here to see other special events at
Reston’s Used Book Shop on Facebook