Outsourcing, Trust and Stewardship Delegation

Sometimes it is worthwhile to go back to the future—especially when it comes to pulling Stephen R. Covey’s, The 7 habits of Highly Effective People, off the shelf for a quick review.

Covey’s classic bestseller on personal effectiveness, published in 1989, has huge lessons for business and leadership effectiveness; it also has great resonance for Vested Outsourcing as well.

What got me thinking about Covey’s work, especially the parts about “thinking win-win” (Habit 4), “being proactive” (Habit 1) and “beginning with the end in mind” (Habit 2), is an extract from his book, called “Green and Clean,” posted recently by the Champions Club Community. Champions Club is a London-based organization that stresses the importance of collaboration to achieve more than “any one of us could do alone.”

Covey relates the interaction and “stewardship delegation” he had with his (at the time) seven-year-old son Stephen to maintain the Covey household’s yard. He takes us through the process of training, understanding, options and methods, owning the job and monitoring progress. After two weeks of training and preparation Covey’s son was ready to take on the job code-named named Green and Clean. There were a couple of bumps along the way, but eventually the boy realized that he really was in charge, and that he could even ask his father for help with difficult tasks.

Covey writes: “He took care of that yard. He kept it greener and cleaner than it had ever been under my stewardship. He even reprimanded his brothers and sisters if they left so much as a gum wrapper on the lawn.

“Trust is the highest form of human motivation. It brings out the very best in people. But it takes time and patience, and it doesn’t preclude the necessity to train and develop people so that their competency can rise to the level of that trust.”

That’s what it’s all about—collaborating to achieve the best outcome possible. True collaboration necessitates trust; without it collaboration isn’t really possible in families or in the outsourcing arena.

Covey concludes, “Effective delegation is perhaps the best indicator of effective management simply because it is so basic to both personal and organizational growth.”

And outsourcing is, at its most effective level, stewardship delegation and the trust that your service provider can do it “greener and cleaner.”

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