4i Newsletter Masthead 505

What, not how

Four i 505 Whatnothow2

You can definitely conclude that former Royal Engineers officer Nick Francis has had a diverse career.

He was awarded the “Operational Engineering Award” for his design and construction of emergency Ebola hospitals in Sierra Leone, and his innovative designs for emergency flood defences saved the town of Romsey from catastrophic flooding. As a specialist in blast and ballistic loading, Nick played a leading role in protecting military camps in Afghanistan from very large vehicle borne bombs.

He also won the South East England Institution of Civil Engineers awards for both “Structures” and “Innovation” for his design of a new timber footbridge in a sensitive historic location.

Last week he spoke with one of our Leadership Groups, and shared his thinking on how to get projects done, on time, on budget, with everyone aligned.

There are several things that are essential to have in place, and here’s one that you can implement immediately that in Nick’s experience will have a profound impact.

“Stop telling people how to do things.”

All too often he observes leaders saying things such as “Here’s what you need to do….”, and this kills both responsibility and ownership.

Instead Nick suggests you state: “Here’s the outcome we want, now go and achieve it…”

When communicating your desired result to an individual or a team, keep in mind these five essentials:

  1. Intent – what’s the what and the why?
  2. Understanding – make sure all information is shared and easily accessible
  3. Trust – be ruthlessly honest
  4. Freedom of action – people must feel able to make their own decisions on the “how to”
  5. Resources – properly identify and agree what’s required upfront

In effect, this is the way to delegate effectively.
Make sure there’s absolute clarity on the desired result – and then get out of the way.

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