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Color, Context, Connective Tissue, Cost, Consequence

What does done look like?

Delegating – it’s a b*tch

No surprise here, I’m Type A and like work done just so. However, when you’re building a company, sometimes you’re just moving too fast and you forget that your team can’t read your mind.  

After several not-so-subtle hints from the team, I tuned into Brené Brown’s interview on the Goop podcast while walking my first born, Buxley (60 lbs Olde English Bulldogge).   

First of all, I could write a book declaring my love for Brené Brown.  The Teddy Roosevelt quote about daring greatly leaves me misty-eyed every time.  Plus, she’s got some sass to her. She lets a few “bullshit”s fly, tells it straight about marriage, and acknowledges that she experiences all the same negative emotions that we all do – shame, anger, rejection, etc.

But one of the biggest takeaways for me in this particular podcast was her approach to delegating with her team at work – the 5 C’s.  When she makes a request, she’s asked that their first question to be,

“Brené, what does ‘done’ look like?”

That simple question can save teams an astronomical amount of time, frustration and money.  But that’s not all, to help flesh out ‘done’, Brené uses the 5 C’s.

Color, context, connective-tissue, cost and consequences

  • Color – Physically, what does this look like? Is this an email, a direct mail piece? Do we want just copy or images too?
  • Context – Why are we doing this? How does it fit into the company’s mission? Goals? Strategy?
  • Connective-tissue – When is this due and what other actions, deadlines and initiatives are reliant on this?  What other pieces should we model this after to ensure consistency?
  • Cost – How much should this cost to complete?
  • Consequences – What happens if this isn’t completed on time?

Brilliant, huh? 

 Let’s dive into an example.

Prowess Project is being showcased at a local event in the next few weeks.  At the event, we want to print a card with a quick Prowess Project summary and our upcoming event schedule.   The conversation would go something like this.

Me: Leah, can we make a card for the Female Founders event?

Leah:  No problem, what does done look like?

Me: 5×7 card with Prowess Project summary and a list of the events we’re hosting in the next month or two.

Leah: Color?

Me: Front – Logo, Prowess Project 100 word description, URL

Back – List of upcoming events: Title, Date, Time, Location, URL

Leah: Context?

Me: The next event we are attending will be chock-full of our target audience.  To continue the conversation and help increase attendance for our future events, we want to share where else we’ll be.

Leah: Connective-tissue?

Me: I know this will be tight but it’s due tomorrow (hey, this is real life, people) but we have to get it to the printer by 5pm to be ready in time.

Leah: Cost?

Me: I’d assume $50.  If too much more, let’s circle back.

Leah: Consequences?

Me:  In the next month, we will be at three events.  The total investment for those is very high, and we want to make the biggest splash possible.  In order to do that, we need people in attendance. Given that this is our target audience at the event, we want to communicate when and where it will be and WHAT they will gain from attending.

Sounds pretty simple, right?  Now Leah and I are on the same page and she understands why this is so important to get done and how it will impact the company as a whole.  Brené for the win! (yet again)

Try out Brené’s “what does ‘done’ look like?” and the 5 C’s and let us know how it worked for you and your team.

Until next time,


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  1. Julie Sellers

    Thank you for writing this, Ashley! I’d listened to that podcast too and have been looking for a written description of it. This was really helpful to me!

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