How a Green Belt Delegates

Delegating is a critical practice for all working professionals, and I’m sometimes asked how a Green Belt should undertake this critical task.

It’s a tricky topic, because Green Belts delegate differently depending on the person to whom the task is being delegated, and the nature of the task.

To illustrate, imagine for a moment that you have two employees, and two tasks.  Task A is a critical item while Task B is not.  Wally White and Greta Green are your two employees, and as their names imply, they are White and Green Belts respectively.

Delegating Task B to Greta Green might not require any action other than the initial conversation, due to the nature of the task and Gret’s reliability.

However, delegating Task A to Wally is a risky business. Like most White Belts, he may decide to commit the item to memory in the hope that he’ll remember to undertake the action at a later time.   The chances are high that he’ll simply forget and the item will fall through the cracks of Wally’s system.

A Green Belt manager who is delegating the item won’t sweat it.  He’ll simply place a segment in his schedule to follow-up with Wally.  It might be the day after the item it delegated, or perhaps a week.  Also, the manager who notices that Wally has not written the item down may also send him an email summarizing the action to be taken.  He’s simply upping the odds that Wally will get the task completed.

The manager understands who he’s dealing with in these two cases, and spends no time lamenting the fact that Wally isn’t more like Greta.  Instead, he works with each person at their current level of skill, and changes his actions accordingly.

This tactic clearly involves a judgment call, as life almost never delivers clear-cut examples like the ones I described above.