June 20th, 2023

I was recently talking to a new coaching client who has been struggling with task delegation. He had gotten over the initial hesitation and control-itis phases and had started to regularly hand off small tasks and projects to others on his team. But then things had started to go a little sideway and he found that oftentimes the projects weren’t completed to the right specifications or key details ended up being missed in the communication chain. So, we reviewed the most important steps on how to give a clean handoff when delegating a task, and I wanted to share those secrets with all of you. Because when it comes to delegation it’s all in the details.

Who does what by when to what standard, and how are they going to close the accountability loop?  

The above question sums up a clean handoff in one sentence. And by covering all of these areas, you should be in really good shape for just about any project or task handoff. You want to know who is responsible for the project. You want to know when the project is due. You want to know what is expected to complete the project. You want to understand what the standard or quality of the deliverables will be. And how to close the loop at the end of the project. If you answer those five things, chances are your project will get completed to a satisfactory end.

And here’s what it might sound like if you were doing a clean handoff with a team member:

Shirvin, I’m asking for you to make sure that the Sanderson proposal gets sent out by this Friday. To do this successfully you want to start off with our best practices template for RFQ responses, which you can find in our internal filing system. Second, you’ll notice that the Sanderson proposal asks for us to make sure we have specific areas covered. I need you to go through it as if it’s a checklist to make sure we’ve covered everything in their RFQ, before sending it out. Third, I need to make sure that when you send it out, that you follow up to make sure it was received by the appropriate parties. And last, I want you to make sure that you just put a quick note up on our Slack channel that it’s gone out with a link to the proposal to close the loop.

The specifics of your project or task will change, but the formula for a clean handoff remains the same regardless of the end goal. The more you delegate, the easier this part comes, but you want to make sure that you are covering all your bases each and every time you hand over a project, whether big or small. Not only will this help you improve your delegation skills, but will make your team’s ability to complete the task at hand that much easier.