Remember the 90’s and early 2000’s when we were so worried about retaining our staff that most organizations tried to create cool, fun places to work? There were ping-pong tables, pac-man machines, free food, and bring your dog to work days. Oops, the financial crash of 2007-08 hit, and many of these perks went away or if they stayed, many people did not feel comfortable playing ping-pong when people had been laid off the month before.

Why am I writing about this? I have been noticing that most of the organizations I work with are doing well, working hard, having solid success but I see very little fun in the workplace. The engagement scores continue to decline in American workplaces and now almost 70% of managers feel disengaged! Yowsa, this means the staff below them are probably even more disengaged!!!

I can see some of you rolling your eyes already and saying we are so busy these days, who has time for fun in the workplace? Yep, you are probably right but if you do not take the time to create some time and space for fun, then you will continue to have a disengaged workforce. Guess what, your best talent will leave for greener pastures and the hope of a better workplace. Your medium to low performers will stay due to lack of options and a belief that it may not be great here but I also do not have to put out a maximum effort.

Ping-pong tables, free food and video games are not the answer either. I would encourage you to have a meeting with some of your key employees and ask them what would help them become a more engaged workplace. Ideas could range from: training to mentoring to potlucks. The important thing is that you listen and try a few ideas. After you try a few things, ask for more ideas and start to see if the ideas get more innovative and creative. Let the group try a few more things.  Next thing you know there should be some more smiles, laughter and maybe even some fun in the workplace. I would encourage you to try a few things and see what happens.

Here are a few of my favorite activities that I have participated in:

  • Scavenger hunts
  • Habitat for Humanity Work Days
  • Theme Days with Trivia—Ex. 1980’s theme, dress and trivia
  • Dinner for employees and their families; Senior management served in black tie or formal wear
  • Bowling
  • Jeopardy with the answers being facts about our customers
  • Ice Skating where only about 2 people knew how to skate!

Let me know about some fun ideas you have for you and your team! Remember to plan some fun at home too!!!



It is all well and good to know what to delegate, but who among us has not had an assignment we delegated go horribly wrong?  Inaccurate.  Incomplete.  Late Arriving.  Or, worst of all, Undone.

I confess to being guilty of all four failings at one time or another.  For a variety of completely justifiable reasons (if one were to take my point of view for a moment) and sometimes for unjustifiable ones, I have delivered poorly on tasks delegated to me.

If I were to juxtapose the things I felt I made a promise to do vs. the things that were delegated to me, any guess which column would have more “completed” items in it?

Yep, the “I promised” column.  Deliberate delegation begins with making sure the person you are delegating to actually promises to take on and complete the task, and to return and communicate if that is not possible.

If you want to find yourself with a higher success rate in delegating tasks and projects, it is important to understand the parties and processes involved.

Who’s Who?

There are two parties involved in any Deliberate Delegation, you and the person you are asking to do the work.  Once you choose to delegate something, you turn yourself into a Customer. The person who will do the work will be the Performer, instead of you. 

A 4 Step Process

There are 4 phases to the Deliberate Delegation process:

1.       Preparation:  expectations are outlined and a request is made.

2.       Negotiation:  an agreement is reached and the project begins.

3.       Fulfillment:  the work is being done and delivered.

4.       Satisfaction:  we discover and recognize how well the work was done.

Each Phase raises questions.

Preparation Phase

The Customer asks:  Who is best for the Job?

The Performer asks:  Do I have the time and the ability?

Troubles arise when the Customer gives an assignment without waiting to see if the Performer accepts the assignment, and failing to learn on what terms that assignment can be accepted (and therefore successfully completed for both parties).

Negotiation Phase

The Customer asks:  Will what I need be accomplished on time?  Are the parameters satisfactory?

The Performer asks:  Have I asked for enough resources?  Do I continue to have the capacity?

Troubles arise when the Performer says “Yes” to the assignment before considering and communicating honestly about the answer to the “Do I have the time?” and the “Do I have the ability?” questions.

Fulfillment Phase

The Customer asks:  What is the progress?  Am I satisfied with the progress?

The Performer asks:  Can I deliver what was requested by the deadline?

Troubles arise when neither party check in with the other to see what progress is being made.

Satisfaction Phase

The Customer asks:  Am I satisfied with the work?  Was it delivered on time?

The Performer asks:  Did I accomplish what I agreed to?  Did I accomplish what was expected?

If we miss this phase, we miss twice. We miss:

1. Learning.  Learning what could go better next time, and

2. Engagement.  Forgetting to thank people for their work leaves them feeling undervalued and unappreciated.  You won’t get exceptional performance twice if you don’t acknowledge the work, and you won’t get better performance next time if you don’t stop and share what went right and what could have gone better.

The next time you have a task or project to delegate, take a moment and think through the Deliberate Delegation process.

  • What do you need done?
  • Who is best for the job?

Once you assign the task, negotiate the scope and terms of the work, and then follow up.

Be sure to check in and see how things are going.  Be curious.  Offer support.  And when the work is complete, let the person know how they did; what went right, and what could go differently next time.

Happy delegating!