The business management files

Delegation Techniques

Use this checklist to help bring your delegation practices in line with your current needs:

  • Run through the list of people to whom you've been delegating.

  • Are there any names not on the list the list that you should add?

  • Are any of the people you've delegated to in the past ready for new and challenging assignments that would further increase their responsibility, experience or value to you and the organization?

  • Should current assignments be changed in order to rotate responsibilities to other subordinates?

  • Are there specific jobs that you've been delegating that you can give to subordinates on a permanent basis, perhaps with less supervision on your part?

This Nose Knows

Everybody knows that dogs have an extremely keen sense of smell - that's why they're used for hunting, tracking and searching. But, just how good is that beagle's beezer?

An interesting explanation comes from veterinarian Hugo Verbruggen and dog trainer Milo Pearsall - two guys who wrote the book "Scent." They offer this comparison between dogs' noses and those of us mere humans:

"Imagine you have a gram of human perspiration, and you release that small drop throughout a 10-story building where it evaporates and spreads itself out evenly. A person walking into the building might be able to pick up the odor - faintly - for a very short time after it is released. By comparison, you could spread the very same amount of human perspiration over a city the size of Philadelphia, and a dog still could detect it anywhere within the city limits and as far up as 300 feet in the atmosphere, even after the scent had grown old."

Injured Body Parts

The National Safety Council reports that of work-related injuries which require compensation, the types of body parts injured are as follows:

Back - 32%

Legs/feet/toes - 15%

Arms/hands/fingers - 14%

Trunk - 9%

Body systems - 6%

Eyes and head - 4%

Neck - 2%

Multiple injuries - 18%

This Arrest Brought to You by ...

Under-funded police departments around the country are looking at selling advertising space on their patrol cars. Government Acquisitions LLC, of Charlotte, N.C., began selling the ads this past fall. The police slap the ads on their cars and in return, they get new patrol cars every three years for $1 each.

Skeptical police departments wary of the plan are concerned mostly about being embarrassed by the ads. But Government Ac-quisitions president Ken Allison says, "If you're at home at night with your wife and kids, and some maniac breaks into your house, you call 911, and you want a police car there. You don't care if there's a Burger King logo on the trunk."

Says North Brunswick, N.J., mayor David Spaulding, "I'll be happy to slap someone's name on our municipal building if they give us enough money. My overriding goal is to be fiscally responsible, and that's what we're doing. We're trying to save the taxpayers money." Mayor Spaulding estimates the idea could save his township $250,000 a year on its 18 patrol cars.

Government Acquisitions LLC is targeting burglar alarm companies, real estate agencies, auto body shops, children's learning centers, fast food restaurants, and lost and missing children's agencies as advertisers. The ads won't come from alcohol, tobacco, guns or gambling interests, and police departments will be able to reject ads they deem inappropriate.

Sales Skills Scorned

Salespeople took a beating in a survey conducted by Communispond Inc., a New York-based consultancy. Only 1 percent of the 432 respondents said salespeople who called on them had excellent skills, while 69 percent rated those skills as fair or poor.

Most of the complaints revolved around shortcomings in interpersonal communications. For example, 49 percent of the respondents listed "too talky" as salespeople's No. 1 problem, and 87 percent said salespeople do not ask the right questions about the buyer's needs.

"A major reason for the poor report card may be that salespeople often are overeager to talk about their services and products instead of listening to customers discuss their needs," notes Communispond president Kevin Daley.

Other findings bear that out. "Really listen" topped the list of traits that buyers found most impressive in a salesperson, and "ability to answer questions" finished a close second.

Executive Mental Health

Does a person have to pay dearly for executive success?

No, according to Joseph McKenna, writing in Industry Week. McKenna points to research conducted by mental-health professionals who've worked with executives. Those folks say a mentally healthy executive should be able to balance both a successful career and a satisfying personal life.

Executives need to know where work fits into the total picture. They must be able to establish priorities in both their personal and business lives. They must be able to answer the question, "What are your personal goals?" While it's great to love your work and feel you're doing something of value, you also should recognize the value of your private life.

Even the hardest-working, organized and effective executive should be able to leave the briefcase at the office more often than not. Avoid an overworked sense of responsibility by delegating more.

Another key to executive mental health is making sure to keep the ego in check. A little humility and humbleness will help you to withstand disappointments and losses without excessive criticism or blaming.

Executives who remain totally committed to work will begin to burn out by displaying uncharacteristic poor judgement.