How to get better at delegating: use CPORT

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Why can it be so hard to delegate?

When you ask someone to do something, the real issue is that you can’t assume they hear what you say, or what you mean.

So how do you get better at delegating with greater clarity?


CPORT is an acronym for a checklist that covers the areas you need to address whenever you’re delegating a task or a project with a team member, or the whole team.

It stands for:

What is the context? Provide all the background information: what else is going on, why is the CEO worried about it, how does it fit? Give them this information and they’ll be better at understanding how to make the right decisions.

What is the intention? Why are we doing this piece of work? What do we want to get out of it ? Make that clear and your team will understand the all-important why.

How good should it be? What standard? How many, how much, what does the outcome look like?

What time, money, people are needed to perform and complete the task?

What’s the deadline for the project? When does it need to be done by?

How to use CPORT tool

Whenever you need to delegate a task or a project, there are two parts to the process of delegating:
Have a meeting and a conversation where all the above CPORTs are addressed.

Then encourage people to ask you critical questions, which should take the form of:

  1. How do we do it? ie How do we get X to do Y?
  2. What if…? ie What are the risks?

In part 1, you tell them what’s involved. That’s the easy part. Most of us can do this without thinking, but that’s only half the story. There’s still plenty of room for misinterpretation. All that time we were explaining and telling like a parent to a child (think of last month’s transactional analysis tool).

In part 2, we are aiming to shift to a more adult conversation. The team ask critical questions to clarify what’s needed. What if this or that happens? How do we do this or that?

Every question adds to shared clarity, every answer involves everyone in solution design. They can control how they design that (so long as you let them), they can work it out between themselves, leaving you free to step back and let them get on with it.

It’s a simple thing, a small step to add to what you probably already do. So try it to improve the quality of your conversations and get really clear with your team.

More clarity will help enable your team and help you all get better at getting things done, together.

Let me know if this helps, or if you need help with it.

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