An extract from the book ‘Stress proof your business and your life’ written for the clients of Keen Dicey Grover by Steve Pipe and Elisabeth Wilson.

“Your employees are supposed to make your life easier. All too often, though, they end up making your life harder and your time is spent solving problems brought to you by your team.

Imagine the scene: a team member comes up to you and says “We have a problem”.. they then spend fifteen minutes telling you about it… and you end up saying “Leave it with me and I’ll see what I can do”. As a result their problem becomes your problem. And you end up doing everybody else’s work.

Sound familiar?

Blanchard and Oncken describe this as ‘Letting a monkey jump from their back onto yours’ – and they argue that it is one of the biggest thieves of a business leader’s time. The monkey is the next step – and the key to effective delegation is only agreeing to take the next step yourself (i.e. to let the monkey jump onto your back) it is a step that ONLY you can take.

The Six Step Solution

More specifically, the monkey management approach is as follows:

Step 1

When a member of your team brings you a problem say: “We both need to understand that we don’t have problems. If there is a problem it is either yours or mine. And if it is your problem I will help you with it on the clear understanding that it will never become my problem. So at the end of this meeting it will be you that has to do whatever it is that we agree needs doing. Does that makes sense?”

Also make it clear in advance that whenever a team member brings a problem to you they must also bring at least one suggestion for the next step. (This requirement alone will greatly reduce the number of problems brought to you – since in thinking of their suggested next steps your staff will often discover that they can solve the whole thing without involving you!)

Step 2

As they tell you about the problem and their suggested next steps, decide what needs to happen next – which could be to go with on of their suggestions, do something else we dreamed up at the meeting, or go away and research some other solutions.

Step 3

Agree who is to take that next step or steps. (Remember, this next step is the ‘monkey’ – and you should only let it jump on your back if it is a step that only YOU can take!)

Step 4

Agree whether they have full authority to take the next steps and then report back to you – or whether they need to come back to you with recommendations before they can take some or all of the next steps – which should only be necessary where the problem is either very important or you have serious doubts that the person is fully up to the task.

Step 5

Agree a time when they will report back to you

Step 6

At that next meeting go back to Step 1 and start again. Continue looping through the six step process in this way until the problem has been solved.

This simple six step process will prevent your team delegating up to you.”

Here at Keen Dicey Grover we understand that managing staff, systemising your business and growing your business is a full time job. We therefore work hard to ensure that you and your business are fully supported so that you can clients to concentrate on tasks that maximise revenue and growth.

Keen Dicey Grover

We care……………we really care

For more information please get in touch, we would love to hear from you