Have you organized your staff in a way that allows them to work independently on projects and tasks while still delivering results that meet your expectations? Or do they regularly have to check back with their boss for more direction or assistance?
We’ve discussed the concept of “Commander’s Intent” on this blog before, a military theory that also has applications in the corporate environment. Essentially, it means that everyone on a team – from the highest leader to the most junior member – understands the final goal and their level of responsibility for making it happen. Through this approach, every individual is able to reach the destination regardless of any variables that may get in their way.
This idea applies to how you craft your company’s mission statement as well as how you manage and run your staff. I dug up another piece about Commander’s Intent in the office, written by Chad Storlie for the Harvard Business Review blog. He outlines how managers and entrepreneurs can help their employees become more capable through running hypothetical situations – such as a product introduction – that require quick response and adaptation.
Following the “simulation training,” analyze team members’ performance. Build up employees’ confidence by giving them smaller-scale projects, and educate them on the history of your business and its current standing, as this will give them context and inform their actions whenever they need to improvise or innovate, Storlie explains.
Setting your team up for stratum success
While giving challenging assignments is vital to the team’s ongoing growth and development, it’s also important to ensure you are not delegating tasks that are outside their range of capability. I have often written about stratum capability, or determining the level at which an employee can work.
Having team members focus on tasks that are beneath their maximum ability is a waste of resources. Meanwhile, employees who are trying to work on overly complicated tasks will ultimately fail or become discouraged, and they will require help from colleagues and managers – creating the inefficiencies that delegation was meant to address.
When delegating roles and functions within your company, be realistic about the capabilities you really need every employee to have, and give them responsibilities that are equal to those. Clearly express each person’s level of accountability and what your expectations are for them. In this way, every individual will be able to complete the team’s overarching mission or goal.
If you wish to read more about stratum capability, I’d advise you to look up Dr. Elliot Jacques’ book, The Requisite Organization. I also discuss the topic extensively in The Entrepreneurial Journey.