October 2007  Issue 1.6

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Last Issue's Dilemma:

I can't seem to catch a break

Arrrgh! I just came back from vacation, and everything I asked other people to handle in my absence is still sitting on my desk -- undone. Not only am I going to spend several hours catching up, but the printer is now going to charge me an expedite fee to get my brochures done in time for our next tradeshow. I shudder to think what will happen -- or not -- next month when I take off a week for my son's wedding in Hawaii.

How do I get these people to pitch in when I need them? Use logic? Bribery? Threats?

-- Edie, Events Manager


Then again, while the cat's away …

Challenges ... Solutions

The Challenge: How to achieve overwhelming brand presence and dominance at the CES.

The Solution: WOW!

How Samsung stole the show ...

Edie, being on vacation should be pleasurable and stress-free. But often it's not, since you find yourself worrying whether people will do what they've promised -- and how much work will be waiting for you when you get back to the office.

However, you can put the fun back into your away time if you follow our readers' suggestions:

  1. Plan ahead
  2. Frame your requests a different way
  3. Do it yourself

Plan ahead

You do your job everyday, so you understand the processes and the importance of your deadlines. But your coworkers don't. By putting together a game plan -- far in advance of your departure -- you can make sure everyone knows how to do what you've asked and gets his or her assignments done on time.

An anonymous reader believes some simple steps can help.

"Determine exactly who should do what, and send the group a detailed email so everyone is aware of the deadlines, must-dos and what he or she is responsible for."

Tim Sayre, COO of BriarLane, provides a detailed process you can follow.

"First off, never let work sit on your desk. Before you leave, send an email asking everyone to help you with a particular part of a project/assignment. Then, go and visit each person individually with the required materials, contacts, production schedules, phone numbers and email you sent previously, printed out in a folder with a must-be-done-by date on it. Go over what needs to be done, include a complete list of step-by-step instructions in the folder, make sure the person understands the task at hand, and be prepared to answer any questions he or she might have.

"Two days before you leave, follow up with a quick phone call, and ask each person if he or she has any last-minute questions about what you dropped off. Remind everyone that their tasks are critical to the overall success of whatever it is your company is trying to achieve.

"Now for the most important part: When you get back, give those who did everything -- and did it correctly -- praise, praise, praise. And make your praise public, so everyone knows what a great job they did and how much the company/higher-ups appreciate their efforts. Praise is highly underrated by many and highly desired by most, so don't forget to give it whenever someone helps you out while you're gone."

Frame your requests a different way

Maybe you've had problems in the past getting people to help you out because of the way you've asked them to do something.

Linda Toomey, marketing manager at Melange, a Planet Bingo company, offers the key to a different kind of approach.

"Asking someone to do something in your absence is a favor for them, too. Delegating a task to someone shows you trust that person with responsibility. So let the person know you're giving him or her a chance to shine -- and you'll tell the higher-ups about what he or she accomplishes in your absence."

Do it yourself

There's a reason why expressions like "If you want something done right, do it yourself" have been around for so long -- they're true. While in the ideal world people would volunteer to help each other out, the reality is most people are too busy with their own jobs to take on part of someone else's.

As Dawn Studniarz, marketing and events manager with Formtek Group, says:

"Plan further ahead so you don't have to depend on someone else. Remember, it always falls back on you if something doesn't get done. If you know you'll be gone, push your deadlines up so you complete everything before your vacation and/or maternity leave. It makes for a much better return and less worry while you're gone!"

Edie, you deserve to have a good time at your son's wedding. Since you have the time, plan ahead, emphasize the benefits for those who help out and, if all else fails, find a way to get everything done before you leave.

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