Tracy's blog

I’m Tracy Au and I have graduated from the Professional Writing program from university. I am an aspiring screenwriter, so this blog is used to promote my writing and attract people who will hire me to write for your TV show or movie. I write a lot about writing, TV, movies, jokes, and my daily life and opinions. I have another blog promoting my TV project at

Thursday, May 25, 2017

"We need DIY leaders to delegate less, not more"/ "Speed, strong execution are keys to leadership success"

Apr. 26, 2017 "We need DIY leaders who delegate less, not more": Today I found this article by Roy Osing in the Globe and Mail:

Mistakes leaders make more frequently than others are delegating too much and delegating inappropriately.

Most everything you read these days on what makes an effective leader stresses the importance of delegation and provides both advice and structure on how managers and leaders can improve their delegation skills.

Leadership pundits lump all matters of delegating into one basket. The message promulgated is that if a leader doesn’t delegate what they do, they are not functioning effectively. Hogwash.

It’s one thing to say that a routine mechanical task should be handed off to someone else, but it’s quite another to suggest that a strategic role should be assigned (even with accountability) to a lower level in the organization.

Delegation of a strategic role can approach abdication – “dump-and-run” behaviour – which does nothing to serve the purpose of effective leadership or enterprise value creation.

Leaders should explore how they can be more efficient and delegate tasks, but they should not delegate the actions critical to delivering the organization’s strategy.

Strategic actions require the fingerprints of a leader who is a master at do-it-yourself.
Here are five jobs for the DIY leader.

Communication of the strategic game plan

No one else should be discussing strategy with employees. It’s not a presentation; it’s a conversation and the leader must be front and centre.

Presence in execution The plan has latent potential only; progress is only realized through execution. The leader’s active engagement in “getting it done” in the trenches is absolutely essential. Employees are stirred by the leader’s willingness to “get dirty” and help them perform their role and realize their potential.

Architecting the ‘customer moment’

The picture of what it looks like to serve customers in an exemplary manner must be painted by the leader. The detailed stokes to be painted by each employee can only be described by the one who created the vision. Delegating this work generally results in vague tactics communicated to implementers and dysfunctional behaviour throughout the organization.

Auditing value compliance Yes, you can hire a third-party research firm to determine the extent to which organizational values are being expressed in the workplace. But the facts you get are unidimensional; they are devoid of any emotional data that provides insight into the passion people feel for the underlying principles. Leaders must schedule time on their calendar to walk about and discover the real commitment to the values espoused by leadership.

Interview potential front-line manager candidates

And be involved in the selection process. Here’s my premise: If strategy execution depends on the performance of the front line (and it does) and front-line performance is influenced by frontline management (and it is), then leadership must be involved in the decision to recruit the folks who manage the front line. Period.

This is beyond HR and is a huge do-it-yourself imperative for leaders. The decision to delegate should not be based on improving the “efficiency” of the leader, nor should it be a decision to comply with expert opinion. Delegation that drains organizational performance should be replaced by DIY.

Roy Osing (@RoyOsing), former executive vice-president of Telus, is a blogger, educator, coach, adviser and the author of the book series Be Different or Be Dead.

"Speed, strong execution are keys to leadership success": Today I found this article by Harvey Schachter in the Globe and Mail:

Speed By John Zenger and Joseph Folkman McGraw-Hill, 208 pages, $35.95

Much has been written about the “need for speed” these days, but when John Zenger and Joseph Folkman pen a book on that topic, it merits attention. The two leadership-development consultants usually write about the many interrelated capabilities such as judgment and communications that come together to allow an executive to be successful, basing it on 360-degree feedback results.

However, analyzing their recent data, they noted a new factor consistently emerging:


“It was not speed as an end goal, but the speed that created real value in a rapid time. It showed up repeatedly and appeared to be a powerful predictor of a leader’s effectiveness as well as the organization’s success,” they write in Speed.

Start by evaluating your personal preference about pace. They have an assessment available on their corporate website that asks questions such as whether you prefer to make decisions quickly and move on or take the time to weigh the pros and cons of decisions and consider alternatives. Neither is wrong, but the former option indicates a fast-paced mentality.

Beyond that, imagine a matrix illustrating two factors: pace and quality. The former ranges from patience to impatience and the latter from quality to quantity. That yields four types of work performers: Sloth (slow, boring, poor execution); tortoise (patient, quality focus, good execution); hare (frantic, annoying, easily distracted, mixed execution) and cheetah (high speed and great execution). You want to be a cheetah.

And while Aesop had the tortoise beating the hare, in the authors’ modern version they put in a good word for hares because speed is so vital: “Having a naturally fast pace can put people in a good position to be successful if they can learn to execute well.”

If you’re arguing that the world needs slow, steady, quality-minded souls, they counter that their data shows the best leaders have a fairly quick pace and excellent execution. Some organizations believe certain functions, such as those where safety is critical, need to work at a slower pace with the focus on improving execution. The consultants still feel that can be done while improving pace.

When they gave people the statement, “If I were able to move faster, I would be much more effective,” they were surprised that 63-per-cent agreed – an unusually high result because normally people don’t like to make negative interpretations of their current performance. Top executives were only somewhat higher than subordinates in that assessment.

Their book extends into other areas such as keeping focus on high-performance goals, setting stretch goals, communicating powerfully and making sure you have a balanced enough life that you don’t become disconnected from the joy of watching sunrises or sunsets. It’s wide-ranging, data driven and a thoughtful exploration of an important emerging aspect of management.


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