Originally posted 2/9/2015, revised 7/28/2021.

Abdication cost New York City more than $700 million for one project.  How much could abdication cost you?

New York City’s Department of Investigations (DOI) released a report late last week about the $1.3 billion (original estimate) project to overhaul the NYC 911 emergency dispatch system.  The report, which is highly critical of the administration of former mayor Michael Bloomberg, contains the following sentence:

Bluntly, the most senior members of the administration simply failed to pay attention.

Further, DOI Commissioner Mark Peters said the city “paid a huge amount of money to a bunch of contractors and assumed (for a quick laugh regarding assumed see: https://www.youtube.codm/watch?v=LfvTwv5o1Qs ) they’d get it right … in 2004, we say it’ll cost $1.3 billion and it’ll be done in 2007.  In fact, it’s going to cost more than $2 billion, and it’s not going to be done until 2017.”

I noticed the following evidence of abdication, rather than effective delegation:

  • “The city relied excessively on outside consultants and failed to adequately monitor progress.” Simply setting things in motion without proper follow up and metrics is
  • Whatever follow ups and measurements that were in place may not have been due on an appropriate schedule –
  • “An inordinate amount of time” on paperwork “detracted from the ability of staff” to do their jobs. Having ineffective reports and paperwork amounts to Abdication with a false sense of security.

So, the primary question is, what are you abdicating in your business, and what could that cost you?  Obviously, your budget is not the size of NYC’s ($76.9 billion for fiscal 2015).  However, in proportion, your lack of effectively delegating key projects or ongoing operational tasks has the potential to do way more damage to your business.  The cost in lost profit, customers and opportunity could be enormous, if not fatal.

This is another installment in my ongoing series about the art and science of successful, effective delegation.

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About the author,

Certified, Award Winning Executive, Leadership and Business Coach - My mission is to assist as many business executives and owners as possible to leverage their talents and experience for the purpose of maximizing the value they bring to their markets, teams, families, and communities.