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A Case Study

The story begins with an overworked educational consultant, named Anne. She works with several businesses implementing training programs and workshops. When word got out how much her services helped a local business, her phone rang off the hook. Quickly her small consulting service grew into a busy business. She decided to hire an assistant. But, she wanted someone educated and creative that could soon become a partner or full consultant and help her business expand further. She chose a grad student named Pat, who was creative, enthusiastic, technology savvy, and very bright.

Below is a scenerio that happens far too often - with a busy workload it's easy to lose sight of long term goals, and when things are running smoothly, it is difficult to change. But, if you do not take advantage of the strength and enthusiasm of your employees, or nurture their potential, you are not using all your resources to their fullest potential. Human resources - your employees are your greatest asset. Delegate with intelligence, creativity, and respect.

Anne is so busy with her fast growing business, and since she took time to interview assisants, she is now behind on her work. She has not had time to plan or prepare any training materials or programs for Pat. She has her tag along for a couple days to meetings and errands and enjoys her company at home where she does her prep work. After a few days both are getting bored. Anne is so busy that she sends Pat to do some of the errands, like run to the print shop and office store.

Eventually Anne sets up the phones to forward to Pat's cell and Pat makes the appointments and does the errands to make Anne's work easier. When Anne decides she needs an office - her home office just isn't cutting it anymore, she explains her budget and what she wants to Pat and sends Pat to meet with the realtor to check out office spaces. The final decision will be up to Anne, but she saves a lot of time by letting Pat narrow down the choices to 2 or 3.

Soon, both Anne and Pat are super busy and the business is running smoothly. Anne meets with Clients, handles the workshops and designs the materials. Pat takes the phone messages and does the busy work, but she is starting to feel that her best skills are not being used. She feels a bit resentful because she wanted to be a consultant, not just a secretary. But it is a good job and she is still in school. Anne is a good boss and pays her well. But if things stay the same, when Pat graduates, she will move on to a different job where she can use her creativity, be challenged and use her skills to their fullest potential.

Anne is happy with how the business is running - with Pat's help on phones and busy work, she has more time to work on client presentations and she is much less stressed when holding a workshop. But Pat is so busy with the errands and phones that she rarely gets to attend meetings or workshops with Anne, and Anne has not had the time or energy to work on an expansion plan. She has practically forgotten her long-term goal of growth, where she could run a consulting firm with several consultants and have an office big enough to hold workshops and trainings on-site.



Anne has lost sight of her long term goals and she is not taking advantage of all of Pat's skills. With a little time and preparation, she could plot a training program for Pat and supervise a few trial consultations. When Pat is ready to take on her own clients, Anne would have more time to advertise and market to new clients - allowing her business to expand. She could hire an office manager to handle the office while both her and Pat met the needs of their clients, and continue to grow, potentially with more consultants, a bigger office, and many more clients.

If Anne can get back her forward -vision, she could brief Pat on a client's needs, take her with to meet the client and review their place of work. She could challenge Pat to come up with an idea or presentation - help out with brainstorming and contacts or fill in any blanks where Pat may need guidance and eventually let her take over a few existing clients or new clients. Her business would grow and her workload would stay the same or decrease but differently structured. If needed they could definitely hire an office manager to handle calls and errands or perhaps they could work with the university and get some interns.

It is often difficult to take the time to train someone - we may think this would be faster to just do it myself. Or we might not find the time to prepare the work or training program - but when this happens we have done ourselves and our employee/s a great dis-service. People will become bored and feel unchallenged - they may likely get frustrated and feel taken for granted if they are not given the chance to shine. Even though Anne appreciated Pat immensely, and told her so, Pat did not feel appreciated, trusted, or respected because she felt stuck in a job that was not what she wanted, and did not utilize her best skills.

Delegation is extememly important in business - not just to lighten the workload. It is not just about how much work you hand off - it is what work you delegate. In this case, instead of delegating all the busy work, Anne could have delegated smarter - she could have seen that her employee is her greatest asset, and let her shine.


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This project was completed in partial fulfillment for EDA 6205 Educational Management for Dr. V. Bryan, Fall 2004. The project is the property of the author,

Bonnie Isham Willis -

and assigned rights to Dr. V. Bryan,, instructor of the course. If you wish to distribute this project for training purposes, contact the author, or Dr. V. Bryan, . The product is permitted for use for subsequent EDA 6205 courses as a sample of high quality electronic work or portfolio for this course.

Fall 2004
Competency 16