Does your team play whack-a-mole?

Photo by Jeff Kontur https//

Photo by Jeff Kontur https//

Remember the Whack-a-Mole game? For many organizations, Q4 is prime season for Whack-a-Mole. In case you aren't familiar with it, Whack-a-Mole is a kid’s arcade game where the child stands with a rubber mallet in front of a table, waiting for the Moles to pop up. As they pop up, the child scores points for banging them down with the mallet before they retreat.

As year-end heats up (or any time things are hectic), you can easily leave your staff feeling like they are playing Whack-a-Mole. Something comes to your attention that just has to get handled. You email someone on your staff and ask them to handle it. No big deal; you're just delegating. But as things pop up more often, if you don't prioritize, pretty soon your staff is playing Whack-a-Mole.

The downside of having your staff play Whack-a-Mole is that it undermines their ability to make progress on any one thing. They spend so much of their time trying to catch what you're throwing at them before it hits the ground that they can't get anything done. And, if you're not careful this becomes part of your culture and pretty soon the whole organization is spending so much time juggling that productivity takes a nose dive.

How do you manage delegation without triggering whack-a-mole? I’d love to hear from you!