Do You Bite Off More Than You Can Chew?

"A man begins cutting his wisdom teeth the first time he bites off more than he can chew.” –Herb Caen, Pulitzer Prize-winning American columnist

Delegation bedevils a lot of people in business. We know we should do it but often we don’t or fail to do it effectively. In either case, there’s a responsibility matrix popularly known as RACI that may help. RACI stands for Responsible, Accountable, Consulted and Informed. A responsible person is one (individually or as the designee of many) who bears responsibility for performing a task. Accountability relates to that person who ultimately bears the burden for the outcome of the task—the phrase “the buck stops here,” famously adopted by President Harry Truman, comes to mind. Accordingly, there can only be one accountable person per task. Consultants are those who have some input on the performance of the task.  Therefore, they communicate with those who are responsible and accountable. On the other hand, informed folks are those kept in the loop on a project but not generally expected or required to offer an opinion (think of the “cc” and “bcc” folks on your letters and emails). The next time you feel like there are “too many chiefs and no Indians” give RACI a try. After all, you have employees, subcontractors, consultants or virtual assistants for a reason. As a British expression goes, don’t keep a dog and bark yourself.

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