Guidelines : Requesting
Requesting New Responsibilities
- State the new responsibilities in the form of a problem to be solved. Discover how some situation, event, or requirement inhibits smooth operation, and then develop a solution.
- Start by elaborating on the “problem” (although your main message is you want to assume new responsibilities) and its significance in time, money, and/or operation. Your recommended action, then, will be your request for more responsibility to solve the problem. The details will include how you will carry out the new responsibilities to attack the problem.
- Offer built-in checks by suggesting review or feedback at specific stages of your plans.
- Demonstrate that you agree with your supervisor’s goals.
- Be authoritative about your solutions and new responsibilities. Make sure they are well thought out and that others perceive the situation the same as you do.
- Show willingness to share the credit for the results of your idea.
Example 1: Request letter for extra duties
SUBJECT: Coordination of Oral Presentation Efforts
In the past couple of years, our combined staff has made approximately 200 presentations either to upper management or to clients and prospective clients. Needless to say, our track record in assembling the materials and information for the presentations leaves room for improvement.
Our engineers, graphics staff, technical editors, and librarian all testify to the harried, last-minute rush that befalls us on many projects–projects on which we usually have several weeks advance notice. In fact, in two recent situations (McBride Corporation and Huffdale, Inc.), hastily prepared presentations contributed to a loss of $140,000 in potential contracts.
To solve this problem, I suggest we designate a presentation coordinator to unify efforts in assembling and preparing materials and gathering information. If this idea seems feasible to you, I’d be willing to take on this additional duty.
Briefly, let me outline the coordination methods I have in mind:
• Engineers would set up an initial appointment with the coordinator to discuss specific topics and needs. The coordinator could suggest other information and audiovisuals on hand in the company library.
• The coordinator would work with the technical editor and graphics staff to oversee the production of materials requested by the engineers.
• The coordinator would arrange to schedule photography on a priority basis.
• The coordinator would maintain logs for reserving audiovisual equipment for each presentation.
• The coordinator would work with Maintenance to ensure all equipment for presentation is in good working order.
• The coordinator would “run errands” as necessary to free individual secretaries for typing final drafts and handouts.
• The coordinator would arrange for delivery of all materials and necessary equipment to the presentation site.
All the coordinator’s activities, of course, would be subject to each engineer’s specific direction and approval.
I’d suggest we announce the Presentation Coordinator’s function to the engineers and try the system on a voluntary basis for two months. I have already mentioned this idea to three of our senior engineers (Hastings, Green, Lambert), and they seem willing to give the plan a try.
After two months, we could re-evaluate the idea’s effectiveness. A committee of engineers could then make a final recommendation to you whether to continue the coordinator’s function, with all engineers required to avail themselves of the service.
I’m eager to contribute to our efforts in delivering services more effectively. What do you think?
Example 2: Requesting letter to boss for duties
SUBJECT: Company Informational Brochure
While our company brochure adequately addresses our company’s services, it lacks the professional layout and design that our competitors’ brochures possess.
I would like to suggest that I be allowed to conduct a review of software currently available for desktop publishing so that we may update our brochure. The evaluation of current software will be based on the
• Desktop options available
• User friendliness
By a due date of your request, I will provide you with an evaluation of all software, as well as my recommendation as to which one would best serve our needs. If a program is approved, I would like the chance to submit several new brochure designs for your consideration.
Revision of our brochure is necessary. We know we give exceptional service, but all prospective clients have to go on is their first impression. I want our first impression to be as impressive as our service.
Example 3: Request letter for duties
SUBJECT: Faculty Meetings
Our faculty meetings have been hectic of late, as you all know. It seems that the official business of the faculty, concerning budgeting, leaves us little time to properly address other faculty needs and concerns. Several staff members have noted that “they can’t get a word in edgewise” when concerns are addressed at the end of the meeting.
The last thing any of us want is for faculty members to feel that their concerns are being neglected. I would like to offer my services, then, as Concerns and Needs Meeting Planner. Rather than using the open forum format we have been following, I believe we could more adequately address individual concerns if we had a specific agenda. Here is how it would work:
• Faculty would inform me via voice mail, memo, or e-mail of their topic of concern.
• I would schedule their topic for the first available meeting, and inform them of the date on which it will be addressed.
• Topics of concern would be listed on the meeting agenda, and would be limited to two per meeting.
I see several advantages in this method over our current practices. First, it reassures faculty that their topic will be addressed, and even gives them a firm date for discussion. Second, the topics are likely to be more fully discussed if the person with the concern has time to prepare their thoughts and the rest of the faculty has time to consider their own views related to the topic. Also, limiting the discussion to only two topics per meeting will hopefully give us adequate time for a thorough discussion of each.
Example 4: Requesting for duties letters
SUBJECT: Update of Computer Order Program
We have all been pleased with the recent growth our company has experienced. My goal, one is to make sure the increase in the orders is met with increased productivity.
Unfortunately, our current order entry software is not capable of efficiently keeping up with the increased demand for our products. As our database grows larger, our system grows slower, adversely affecting the speed with which orders can be entered.
Obviously, our software is not meeting our needs. I would like permission to check into alternate programs.
My plan would be to review the software, with other staff members to be assigned by you. We would evaluate the new software based on:
• Ability to meet our needs
• Ease of training
• Demonstrations and literature provided by the salesperson
We would submit our recommendation for your approval, and then be responsible for the training of the new employees after installation of the new system.
I hope to hear back from you soon. I feel we should take immediate steps to ensure we can provide service equal to the demands of the customers.
Example 5: Requesting letter
SUBJECT: Hiring Procedures
Currently, all prospective employees’ applications have to go through the main office before they are submitted to the appropriate section heads for review. Since we currently have 220 sections, the main office understandably has a slow turn around time on paperwork when too many sections are attempting to fill vacancies simultaneously. This time obstacle causes delays in the prompt hiring of new employees and has resulted in problems ranging from minor to the almost crippling in several sections. It has also increased the workload placed on employees in each section, causing observable stress and dissatisfaction.
Obviously we want to keep employee satisfaction and productivity at optimum levels. I feel it is necessary, then, to request the following changes in procedures:
• All resume and applications should be sent directly to each appropriate section head, as they are the ones who do the interviewing.
• After receiving the resumes and/or applications, all section heads would then fax them to an account held by myself, as my computer is directly linked to the main office.
• I would then download the resumes and applications into the main office’s e-mail account and the paperwork will be processed accordingly.
The advantages of this system would be twofold. First, it would allow for faster hiring of needed employees. Second, it would keep the employees in the main office from feeling overwhelmed. I would like to suggest that someone in upper management be assigned to monitor the account to ensure that section heads are faxing the information promptly and that I am in turn forwarding the paperwork to the main office in an expeditious manner.
The one problem of this system would be its effect on the efficiency of our computer, but I have Stan, our systems analyst, running a check on that for me. You should be receiving his memo by this afternoon.
While this suggestion calls for a major revision in procedure, I feel that it will immediatelyt positive results.
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