In Allgemein, business coaching & training, new work, teamwork

Debating whether to increase the level of self-organisation in your team? Maybe your team have been keen to take on more responsibility and you haven’t been sure how to transfer it? Or you want to transfer tasks but your team is not convinced?

Delegation poker is an excellent process in order to reinforce your development towards self-organisation. Far from being the be-all-and-end-all of self-organization, it will put you on a path towards highlighting what delegation is already happening in your team, how your team and you, as leader, delegate and find out what all of you think the way forward could be.

It will empower leaders and teams to talk openly about delegation and move the needle forward.

While delegation can be a tricky topic to broker with leaders – Either they have tried it already and it didn’t go as planned, the party they wanted to delegate to didn’t want to take over, or the leader wanted to transfer what they consider tedious tasks and is surprised the team is not gung-ho to do them, …. and the list goes on – it is well worth your while.

delegation poker Business Coaching und Training Hamburg Muttersprache Englisch und Deutsch Cary Langer-Donohoe

Fear of losing control, lack of trust and lack of communication can create serious stumbling blocks towards self-organisation. Some leaders may be part of a system that reinforces a need to check all details in order to, purportedly, be accountable at all times. Also, some legal systems don’t allow for full delegation of certain topics. However, as Jurgen Appello says, very little can be accounted for with this legal traceability of authorization requirements.

Good reasons for delegation and the steps of delegation will be covered in detail in my upcoming article on steps to make your delegation process successful.

Delegation poker is an excellent process in order to reinforce your development towards self-organisation.

Now, to trying out delegation poker. First of all get yourselves organized in terms of the material and means for delegation poker:

  • To start of with you go to the management 3.0 website, or any other trusted supplier. I like working with these guys’ material as it is available in many different languages and easy to understand.
  • You download the delegation poker cards. And distribute them to your team.
  • Whether you are starting off with delegation poker with your team in person or online doesn’t really matter, both are possible.
    • If you are playing in person, print out a set of cards for each player.
    • If you are playing online either print a set out each as well, or
    • use a digital version of the cards in an online collaboration tool such as miro or mural or even zoom
      • you can then include the cards in the tool and enable all participants to mark the card they choose in each round with a personalized marker.
    • Once you have done that, make sure everyone in the team has the same understanding of the seven levels of delegation.
    • Agree on that understanding and use it in future run-throughs.

Then you run through the following process for each round of delegation poker:

    • Start small. Take things that are maybe already on their way to being delegated, like the holiday deputizing scheme your team mostly runs.
      • If the team does partially independently already is a good warm-up to try out delegation poker.
    • One member describes the question at hand, i.e. what is to be delegated.
    • Each member chooses a level of delegation they think is appropriate.
    • All members show their chosen card at the same time.
    • If you have outliers, give the owners of the highest and lowest level chosen a chance to let you know their reasoning.
    • As long as outliers are in the minority, discount them, as this will hinder the process of delegation.
      • If you just started,  level 7 will in all likelihood be too far, and level 1 won’t get you anywhere.
    • Discuss the remaining options as a team.
    • Agree on one.

Once you are finished, repeat for the next topic. But maybe not right away!  Schedule a regular slot to go through topics you have collected as a team. Chart decisions on delegation on a delegation board, where the agreed level of delegation and the responsible party are clearly visible.

Give yourselves a chance to get used to this delegation and self-organisation process.

This process can lay bare many processes which were previously completely implicit and can make people uncomfortable. Others may think talking about them is unnecessary. Others again may wonder where this is taking you.

In all cases it will reinforce clear and open communication for teams and leaders.

There are some variations on this that you will undoubtedly be confronted with on your way, and that is totally ok. The important thing here is to clearly and openly discuss what are normally implicit processes in teams and to be able to make them tangible and work with them. As I mentioned before, this is not a be-all-and-end-all solution. It is a means to an end of getting a discussion going. This alone will not make your organization self-organised. But it will be a good and interesting start. Enjoy!

As a business coach, I support teams, leadership, organizations on this paths and enjoy demonstrating the benefits of this and where it can lead you. If you have any more questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch.


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business coaching und training in Hamburg, Muttersprache Englisch und Deutschbusiness coaching und training in Hamburg, Muttersprache Englisch und Deutsch