Delegate with the Imperative

When we are working in teams, the amount of energy we spend trying to get everyone moving in the same direction can be exhausting.

Many of the meetings we conduct are to get clarity. With the onslaught of information coming into everyone’s life, we can’t assume everyone’s head is clear, much less understanding what you want.

You may not even be clear on what you want either. And if you start making asks of others without being clear, this only creates waste that later has to be reeled in and rectified.

Here’s a 15 second tip to help minimize waste and delegate with increased clarity. Use the imperative when you make an ask. Start every task/to-do with a verb.

Whether you send an email or assign a task in your project management or CRM system, use words like “decide,” “contact,” “post,” and “buy.”

What you did was think about a concrete next action that has to be taken. You are considering the other person and helping them be clear with a specific next step.

Imperatives are powerful to eliminate guessing what something means. You are creating movement and specificity with action words.

If I have to come back to you to understand what you want me to do with a task such as “New strategy,” you wasted both of our times. I don’t have the meaning or action and it can just pile onto the plate of stress from ambiguity.

Keep great lists for yourself in the same manner. Use verbs to tell yourself what to do. Then you don’t have to think about it when you have time and space to act. You can help your team avoid the tax of unclarity, decision fatigue and frustration by being intentional in every handoff with concrete language towards action by developing this powerful habit.

Published by Don Dalrymple

I partner with founders and entrepreneurs in startup businesses. I write and consult on strategy, systems, team building and growing revenue.

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