Tasking is not the same as asking (T ≠ A)

Next time you task someone ask yourself whether they will know:

  • What you expect back from them and
  • To what standard and
  • By when.

These are the very minimum standards by which we should judge task assignment. There is an enormous difference between ‘asking people to do stuff’ and holding an individual accountable to deliver something tangible back to you by a specific time. And of course if ‘T’ stands for time than not specifying a time to completion turns a ‘task’ into an ‘ask’ and there is in our view a significant difference!

Given that task assignment can include:

  • The scoping of projects.
  • The definition of a service level agreements.
  • The delegation of a piece of ones own work to a team member.
  • A non-routine job.
  • A tender.
  • A contact.

It is worth remembering that poor task assignment i.e. making up tasks on the run, not having a discipline in terms of the format; holding groups rather than individuals accountable; not taking time to first formulate the task before assigning it:

  • Has the potential to cost your business millions of dollars in rework and
  • Invariably erodes the morale of the task doer.

We believe that having and using a robust model for task assignment should be a part of any business growth and retention strategies!