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These days, there are more than a few initiatives that intend to drive organizational success. From employee engagement and training to effective recruitment strategies, organizations looking for results put resources into improving performance. Yet, even in the absence of these initiatives, people still come to work every day and do the best they can. While money and resources can be directed at improving performance, clarity in delegation is the real avenue for achieving tangible results.

The Human Perspective

As human beings, it’s in our nature to want to do good work. There is a school of thought that argues that employees are assets, and as such, if they are not pushed or controlled with tight management, they will not perform at optimal levels. In my experience, I’ve seen quite the opposite. In fact, I am of the opinion that when faced with challenging obstacles, people will naturally work even harder to overcome and forge ahead. In many organizations, it’s the incredible effort of people who are the reason why the organization is enjoying any success at all.

People apply themselves in different ways and take satisfaction in different ways as well. Whether it’s working a 60 plus hour week or performing at optimal levels in 40, there will always be a human element to organizational behavior that can be seen through how one motivates oneself and interacts with others in the organization.

Clarity in Delegation Leads to Value Added Work

In an organizational systems context, if I am the CEO, I have a strategy that I’ve been mandated to achieve by my Board of Directors. Chances are, I am working towards strategic objectives with milestones, and typically reporting back as part of my performance measurement. To the extent that there is real clarity from the board around what the organization is expected to accomplish, and more specifically, what I am expected to deliver, it makes it much easier for me to focus in on the value added work that is important to achieve success for the organization.

Clarity Can Be Delegated Down Through the Organization

Once that’s in place, it becomes incumbent on the CEO to have an authority and accountability framework within the organization where the same type of clarity and precision can be delegated down through the organization. This is often the missing step in strategy implementation. If I am the vice president reporting to the CEO, and my objectives and deliverables are clear, I can in turn direct my subordinates accordingly. Clarity becomes a critical factor in terms of keeping everyone at every level engaged in value added work leading to the achievement of the organization’s strategic goals.

Ensuring Consistency and Exposing Drivers for Success

If employees do not have a clear understanding of what they are being held accountable for and the success factors of their organization, how do they determine where they should focus their efforts for the day, for the week, for the next quarter? The accountability and authority framework provides the means for this additional clarity so that each employee understands what the key elements are for success in their work.

When there is clarity about what someone is accountable for achieving and doing, when objectives are concise and deliverable, it’s easier for them and others down through the organization to be able to focus in on those tasks that are important and to deliver success against milestones that are mutually understood. After all, if your objective is to “save the world”, how do you possibly know when you’re done for the day?