HOW TO PREPARE A BRIEF
When planning a brief, first define your objective and compile a full checklist to ensure that all the individual aspects of a task are included. The more complete the final brief, the more confident you can be that the task will be successfully executed.
Defining The Objective
The most important part of the briefing process is defining the overall objective clearly. As far as possible, outline the aims in terms of required outcomes. For example, ask a delegate to “reorganize stationery purchasing by 31 May to achieve 10 per cent savings on present costs”, rather than to “sort out the stationery”. Here, the saving in costs could be included in the brief as a sub-objective within a broader project for improving office efficiency and administration.
Using A Checklist
Your delegation should be based on breaking down a task into all aspects, naming the person who is responsible for each item, and eliminating overlaps of responsibility. This provides the basis for making a checklist. Use this list to ensure that nothing significant has been omitted from the brief, and that component tasks have an explicit timetable.
If the task is to improve the efficiency of repairs carried out on a customer’s premises, for example, the key factors are likely to include identifying faults and their root causes, preventing recurrence of shortcomings, speeding up response and repair times, and assessing and raising the degree of customer satisfaction. Make sure that the checklist and the brief dovetail precisely.
Do not regard your brief as sacrosanct, but as a framework within which delegate s can use reasonable flexibility to achieve their objectives. Be very precise about what delegates are expected to achieve, what financial and other resources will be available, when the role begins and what the deadlines are, and what delegates may or may not do on their authority.
Keep the brief tightly focused on the results you want, but leave delegates as much flexibility as possible in following the brief, especially in deciding what procedures to use. You should expect them to seek review and revision of the brief as events demand.
THINGS TO DO
- Keep objectives as clear and concise as possible.
- Build a certain amount of flexibility into the brief.
- Base the objectives on required outcomes.
- Make a checklist to avoid overlaps and omissions.
- Ensure that the delegate is fully aware of the aims.
- Allow the delegate to comment on the brief.
STRUCTURING A BRIEF
|PARTS OF A BRIEF||FACTORS TO CONSIDER|
Defines the task, listing major objectives and sub-objectives in clear and concise language.
|List all the objectives and discuss them with the delegate before finalizing any agreement. Ensure that this list is referred to continually.|
Specifies what personnel, finance, and facilities are available or need to be obtained.
|Finalize resource needs after the objectives have been set. Ensure you include the limits to spending authority in the delegate’s budget.|
Set out the schedule with review points, state completion dates, and final deadlines.
|Use the schedule to motivate the delegate and to provide the basis for a critical part analysis showing all the completion stages.|
Describes procedures, as agreed with the delegate, and summarizes key points.
|Devise and agree on a thorough outline plan that will provide the delegate with a concrete but flexible methodology within which to work.|
|LEVELS OF AUTHORITY|
Specifies the range of the delegate’s authority and to whom they will report.
|Apply authority limits that tell the delegate when it may be appropriate to refer to you, and when they should use their initiative.|
- Make all the objectives as precise as possible when briefing.
- Do not set too many controls when you are writing a delegate’s final brief,
- Incorporate a reporting plan into each brief.
- Ensure that the delegate fully understands and agrees to the brief.