I asked, well really told, both my kids to pick up the toys in the toy room before bed. The next morning, the toys lay strewn across the floor unmoved from the previous night. I call it the group affect. When you assign a task to more than one person or a group, without very specific actionable items or a group leader, the task often languishes.
Think of a time you asked or assigned the same task to two people? It’s common for it to go undone. Ask two people to turn out the lights and the next morning the lights are still on. Ask five coworkers to consider something and it goes unconsidered. Add three people to the distribution list of a contact form and no one answers.
It’s important to assign a leader when putting multiple people on a task. It creates singular responsibility for that project or task. Void of that person, void of that responsibility and the group affect creeps in adding to the possibility that it won’t get done.
I’ve been readdressing the way I address tasks and projects. It’s important to have a responsible person for the things you want to see through. When I send an email, I put only one person on the “to” line and in the body of the note I mention them by name, regardless of how many people are copied. I am clear when we discuss anything as to who is responsible for the delivery of the result. And, at home, I’m more deliberate when tasks are assigned as to who is the leader and who is solely responsible. If you don’t, the ultimate responsible party will be looking back at you in the mirror.
David Cain works at Magnitude, a sales and marketing agency. Contact David at David.Cain@MarketMagnitude.com.