Core. Collaborate. Delegate. (Part 3 of 3)
By Elizabeth Albee
Have you considered drawing on someone else’s core competency to reach your desired outcome?
In the first two articles in this series, we discussed the ability of enterprise data strategy to not only maximize but actually increase the value of information within a company. The key rests in deliberately aligning every element of your strategy with one or more specific, future-facing corporate strategic objectives. And the best approach for achieving this kind of corporate strategic alignment lies in understanding a 3-part mantra: Core. Collaborate. Delegate.
We explored how to identify your core competencies—the things you can control that contribute to the strategic goals of your company. And we looked at collaboration as the way to ensure that your core competency is truly having a positive impact on your organization’s success. In the final article, we will turn to the third component of our mantra. And then, for good measure, we’ll circle back to see how the three elements together can help you make practical decisions in the moment that preserve your alignment with corporate goals, while still meeting the immediate needs of your business.
Delegate, either to another part of your organization or to a vendor, things that are not part of your core competency.
So you understand your core competencies—you know what you can control, and how it supports your company’s strategic goals. You identified the ways you can collaborate across your company as you develop and implement your core tools, so you can have the best possible impact without stretching yourself too thin.
Here is where things get interesting.
The most important thing to remember is that delegation is not just a matter of passing something off to someone else. Successful delegation entails specifying a desired outcome to a responsible person or group, which is then tasked with delivering that outcome. For delegation to work well, you need to establish controls, identify limits on the scope of work, provide sufficient support, and stay up to date on progress.
We’ve already discussed ways to recognize possible activities that you can successfully delegate. If there are financial, logistical, or other limitations on the success of an activity which you just can’t remove, then that activity could be a good one to delegate. If an activity is in line with the same strategic goals you support, but carrying it out impedes your ability to do other work or your team doesn’t have the bandwidth or the expertise required, then it’s an excellent candidate for delegation.
The key is to focus on results rather than procedures. In delegating, you’re drawing on someone else’s core competency to reach your desired outcomes. Those outcomes still need to be aligned with your aims, supporting strategic corporate goals. And it remains your responsibility to make sure that the outcomes get plugged back into your strategic framework in the right time and the right way, so that everyone advances toward the same goal and your organization benefits.
Delegation can be internal—for example, calling on business process owners within your organization to create processes in harmony with established guidelines and standards. This differs from collaboration, since you are not actively participating in the process. You might also opt for a hybrid approach—collaborating in some activities and but delegating others that are outside your ability to complete.
In other cases, outsourcing may be the solution that allows you to hit the sweet spot of meeting your company’s mission and enabling business growth by keeping your resources focused on your core strategic goals and leaving everything else in the hands of a trusted vendor or strategic partner. For example, if your organization has a cloud first policy, moving certain applications (i.e. ECM, ERP, HR and others) is a good place to investigate. If you do outsource, it’s important to do so dependably, judiciously and with a trusted vendor, keeping your eye firmly on the outcomes and the controls you set around them.
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So, now that we’ve unpacked the meaning of “Core, Collaborate, Delegate”, let’s think a little bit about practical applications.
Remember that researcher/analyst/paralegal that we introduced in the first article? The one with the 2 TB of data that they needed to house for immediate access?
Knowing your area’s core competency—and, conversely, understanding which activities are right for collaboration or delegation—can allow you to suggest a path forward that is already aligned with your processes, compliance principles, and strategic goals. Having mechanisms in place for collaboration or delegation can allow you to speak meaningfully and realistically about the controls, costs, and service levels that would accompany a course of action. And in the long run, being able to respond quickly and reasonably to this kind of request makes it less likely that groups in your organization will go their own way when faced with data needs. This makes compliance more likely, mitigation less necessary, processes more efficient, and strategies more effective.
Core. Collaborate. Delegate. Succeed. Grow. Repeat.
About the author: Elizabeth Albee is a data and information strategist with a passion for driving companies toward success by harnessing information to power innovation. You can connect with Elizabeth on LinkedIn.