Contents of the Notes on Completed Staff work

Completed Staff Work

Completed Staff Work – Test Questions

Some Answers to CSW Test Questions

Possible Activities for Subordinates and/or Managers when Subordinates identifies a Problem

Some Differences between “Just” Completed Staff Work and High-Quality Completed Staff Work

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Completed Staff Work



1 In many Organisations, Subordinates and/or Staff Advisors bring their Managers a problem and sometimes even possible solutions, but (unless trained or unusual) usually they do no more. In effect, they “dump’ the problem on the Manager’s lap.

2 These notes discuss Completed Staff Work (CSW) – a technique that aims to reduce the number of times people dump problems on others. They explain a meaning for CSW (Completed Staff Work), list four stages, and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the approach to both Managers and Subordinates.

3 The notes point out that CSW (Completed Staff Work) applies to that area of a person’s job where the person does NOT have the right to make decisions and implement them.

4 The notes also point out that people can (a) practise oral as well as written CSW and (b) always make recommendations, but with varying degrees of confidence. Recommenders often need to make assumptions; if so, they should include them with their recommendations.

A Definition of Completed Staff Work (CSW)

5 Completed Staff Work – the presentation by one person[1] (a) to another person or a group (b) of a problem and/or opportunity, plus a recommendation regarding the problem and/or opportunity which the receiver (person or group) (b) can accept or reject.

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Some Answers to Test Question.


1 This lists the test questions and gives two or three different in italics for each question.

2 It includes comments about the answers.

3 It does NOT aim to provide model answers. It aims to encourage Readers to think about how to answer questions in general (e.g. tie their answers back to the ideas in the question and b provides some ideas about particular questions


4 () Give one to support your agreement or disagreement with
the following statement: “The ‘completed subordinate work’ provides managers with just as suitable a label as ‘completed staff work’ (3)

5 The phrase can be interpreted as equally suitable providing the “completed” means the supplying of recommendations.

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Possible Activities for Subordinates and/or Managers when Subordinate identifies a Problem


1 When Subordinates identify that they have a particular problem they can take a wide variety of approaches to what they do next.

2 The diagram which follows aims to set out the possible approaches. It shows the various combinations available to a Subordinate in relation to a problem. The combinations refer to the activities performed by a Subordinate or some combination of Subordinate and Manager.

3 In particular the diagram aims to show which activities must take place for Completed Staff Work (CSW) to occur.

Possible Activities

4 This section only aims to help introduce people to the ideas in the diagrams. Readers should give most attention to the diagram and the last section of these notes - the difference between Completed Staff Work and Non Completed Staff Work.

5 After identifying a problem, Subordinates have the following possibilities:

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Some Differences between “just” CSW and high-quality Completed Staff Work


1 When trying to understand the meaning of Completed Staff Work (CSW) some people think of high-quality CSW instead of just CSW.

2 In order to carry out CSW[1] a person must identify a problem, find one or more solutions, and recommend a solution to another person. Thus the Receiver of the recommended solution can either accept or reject it.

3 However the identification of high-quality Completed Staff Work provides a much more difficult idea to define.

4 The following sections discuss some factors which show that whether a solution rates as high-quality involves peoples’ opinions.

Will the recommended Solution solve the Problem?

5 If a recommended solution solves the identified problem it will increase the quality of the CSW. However disagreements will exist. Some people will argue whether some action has actually solved a particular problem.

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When should a Manager/Subordinate use Completed Staff Work?

The following lists a series of factors which should help a person decide whether to use CSW (Completed Staff Work)

Each factor has a scale arranged so that the right side suggests the Organisation should achieve CSW between Manager and Subordinate while the left side suggests that an Organisation should not use CSW

. Example.In the first factor (Time Available to ) the shorter the time to make the decision the less suitable will CSW prove.




The Shorter-

1 the time available to make the decision The Longer

The Longer-

2   the time before the Subordinate can produce a Recommendation The Shorter

The Fewer-

3  the number of successful recommendations  made by the Subordinate in recent times The Greater

The Smaller-

4   the of the problem (i.e. the cost to the Organisation of failure and the benefits gained from success) The Greater

The Smaller-

5   the confidence the Subordinate has that he/she can produce a recommendation that – will solve the problem The Greater

The Smaller-

6 the confidence the Manager has that the Subordinate can produce a recommendation that will solve the problem. The Greater

The Shorter-

7   the time available to implement a solution The Longer

The Smaller-

8  the Subordinate’s ability to gain access to, and/or have available, appropriate information The Greater

The Greater

9 the confidentiality of information required to produced a recommendation. The Smaller

The Smaller-

10 the benefits available to the Subordinate from working on the problem. (The potential of the problem to prove useful in training the Subordinate.) The Greater

The Lower -

11 the probability of the same or a similar problem re-occurring2

The Smaller-

12 the involvement by the Subordinate in implementing the recommended solution The Greater

The Smaller-

13 the desire to involve the Subordinate in wider aspects of the Organisation’s operations The Greater

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How should Managers introduce Completed Staff Work?


1 Executives who believe they and/or their Organisation should use Completed Staff Work (CSW) need to consider – howthey should introduce it – and into which part(s) of the Organisation.

2 Sometimes the where to introduce determines the how to introduce.

Individuals - As  of CSW

3 People who want to start giving CSW have a simple task. They just decide that whenever they write or talk to their Managers about a problem they will include a recommendation. Receivers of a Recommendation can include anyone else – person or group (e.g. a Committee)

A Possible Difficulty: A Challenge to the

4 Unfortunately some Managers may interpret a recommendation as the  trying to “tell the Boss what to do”. If so, Subordinates need to try to educate their Managers in the advantages of CSW to the Manager.[1]

Individuals - As Requesters of CSW from Subordinates

5 Managers who want to introduce CSW can do so independently of other Executives. These Managers only have to gain sufficient co-operation from their Subordinates that the Subordinates will remember to offer a recommendation (not just communicate a problem).

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Implementing CSW – Problems and Possibiities


1 Managers who want to implement Completed Staff Work (CSW) with a significant proportion of their staff will need patience, persistence, and still more persistence.

Some Subordinates adopt CSW easily

2 A few Subordinates adopt CSW easily. They like the satisfaction it gives them. However even these people usually require reminders to carry out CSW. They need to develop a habit pattern of CSW.

3 As long as Managers remember to keep reminding them, this group of people cause no difficulties. Managers do not have to battle with them (see below)

4 Some Subordinates find that using CSW helps them get more decisions out of their Manager. For problems they find themselves they use CSW because they get the decisions out of their Managers and often the dc— cision that they want. This group need even fewer reminders than the group mentioned previously.

Some Subordinates Fight against CSW

5 Most Managers will find that at least one tenth of their Subordinates try to avoid giving CSW to them.

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