Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Green & Clean

One of the most impressive stories that illustrate the principles of management and delegation is given by Stephen Covey in his fantastic book called The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People .

In this story called Green and Clean he illustrates four general principles that are important when you divide tasks. Wetter this is in your family or at your job. Wetter you're the boss or the employee. These principles lead to success!

Green & Clean
We were having a family meeting to divide the tasks in our family. My seven-year-old son, Stephen, volunteered to take care of the yard.
Before I actually gave him a job, I took him next door to our neighbor's. "Look, son," I said. "See how our neighbor's yard is green and clean? That's what we're after: green and clean.
Set Target

Set simple targets in a few words that everyone understand. No difficult or pagewide target definitions.
"Now before you decide whether or not you're going to take the job, let me tell you a few more things. Because when you take the job, I don't do it anymore. It's your job. I trust you to do the job, to get it done. Now who's going to be your boss?"
"You, Dad?"
"No, not me. You're the boss."
Define responsibility

Delegate and clearly define the responsibility and mandate at the right level.
Cut of dependent behavior.
"Now, guess who your helper is."

"I am," I said.
"You boss me."
"You tell me how I can help."
"I'll do anything you want me to do."
Offer help

Only after the target is set and the responsibility is defined: start helping
Don't start helping in an earlier state. Otherwise things will end up in a mess.
Two weeks went and nothing happened. The yard was going down the drain.
As I rounded the corner, I saw my son at the park across the street playing.
I faked a smile and yelled across the street, "How's the yard coming?" Then we walked around the yard together. His chin began to quiver and tears welled up in his eyes.
Accept failure

Delegating is a process. Accept that you don't succeed at once. Keep patience. Stand up as many times as necessary.
Than he finally asked for help.
I helped him two or three more times that entire summer.
After that, he himself took care of that yard . He kept it greener and cleaner than it had ever been.

Final Acceptance and taking responsibility.
Using the above principles finally leads to the success you both wanted.

Covey is no narrow-minded or soft management-guru. On his website he states:

Human beings are not things needing to be motivated and controlled

They are four dimensional
body, mind, heart, and spirit

Dr. Stephen R. Covey
The 8th Habit
From Effectiveness to Greatness

As you see, the principles are all based on constructive communication.

Apply these simple principles everywhere and things will become a lot simpler in life.

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