Why wait?

Probably one of the most frustrating sentences to hear from an employee as a manager (property manager or any other kind) is some version of “…I’m just waiting for…”

It it way too often that that phrase is uttered as an excuse for things not getting done. What it actually is, in many cases is a kind of CYA. People don’t take action unless they have explicit instructions to do so, which of course means they are waiting for someone else to make decisions.

To “just wait” is an implicit acceptance of things being out of your control, which means so too are the quality standards and the timeframe for completion. You cannot have a quality company that has “waiting” incorporated into the process. Procedurally anytime you are waiting for someone to call you back, or to send you something…or whatever the reason for the gap in time, you have got to make sure there is a trigger set for you to follow up. Or, that task needs to remain on the task lists that you will follow up.

When those words are spoken to me I envision a shrug of the shoulders and get the impression that the task just isn’t being taken seriously enough. Now, as a manager, I carry the brunt of the ultimate responsibility, right. But that isn’t to say that therefor I ultimately need to take on those tasks to make sure they become accomplishments. As a matter of fact, to take the responsibility back from the designee is to take away an employee’s opportunity to better themselves…it’s a kind of theft of their future. The technique I’ve used is to ask them to…well, not ever put “just waiting” step in their project. Which isn’t to say there aren’t good reasons an employee has to spend time researching, thinking or looking for something, it’s to say that if you have the responsibility to accomplish a particular task (you’ve got the monkey) then it’s your job to control it by following up on a very regular basis.

The way it looks in your tasks manager is to change the date to when you are going to call the person you are waiting on. You take notes about when they said they’d have it to you and any of the specifics you can garner in the meantime. Keep the task alive by being proactive, not completely passive. Because remember, the task is your priority, when you reach out to others they are essentially doing you a favor and will necessarily demote your priority to ‘a hassle’ but they will appreciate it when they pick up on your tenacity…and that will help you achieve your goals. In other words, even when you are waiting…you need to maintain control in a very systematic way. It’s not rocket science, but it’s easy to know it when you see it because it is too rare.

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