The Problem of Task Management

Scenario: You’re in a meeting with six other team members and your superior (or leader/director/pastor). Someone on the team throws out a great idea for a marketing piece or an event. Everyone agrees it’s a great idea, leadership is all-in, and the meeting ends on a high.

Fast forward and the launch date for that project is just days away. Leadership asks, “Let me take a look at X before we release it.” All of a sudden, everyone in that original meeting says,

I don’t remember being assigned that
Wasn’t that so-and-so’s department?
That wasn’t my responsibility

Leadership is not happy because that great idea has not come to fruition yet, and somone on the team gets thrown the task and has to complete it last minute, most likely at half-quality.

Let’s take another scenario: An email is sent out by the team leader with a specific task to be completed. There are five recipients in the “To” field and six in the “CC” field. Of the eleven people who receive this, none assume it’s their responsibility because it was not delegated. Again, the ball gets dropped and one individual will be stuck rushing a product to completion with half-success.

What’s the problem here? Task Managment. Teams are notoriously bad at specifically assigning a task to an individual or group, and members of that team are notoriously bad at taking ownership of these tasks.

The solution? Be deliberate and specific. If you’re the team leader, don’t leave that meeting before one individual is reponsible for seeing the task to completion. And if you choose to be a great team member, proclaim ownership of a task and follow through.