Delegation in One Lesson of Five Steps (for lawyers)

# 1. Let Go! Delegate! You should not do it all.

Even if you could do it all, you should not do it all! If you don= t believe that, you will never be a delegator.

You make more money if someone does part of your stuff, freeing you to fill your time with really important stuff. If you don’t believe that, you will never be a delegator.

You are not perfect (gasp)! Plus many small items of your work do not have to be done exactly the way you would do them. If you don’t believe that, you will never be a delegator.

# 2. Find the “90% like Me – Will Be OK” Items.

Look for the things that can be done 90% as you would do them, and in which the last 10% of your idea of perfection won’t really matter. Have someone else do those things.

For example, have someone physically open your snail mail, throw out the junk mail, put the most important items on top of the pile before giving it to you, and themselves prepare draft answers to ordinary correspondence. Another example, have your secretary or legal assistant do everything to get a deposition arranged (You should spend your time preparing the questions to ask).

# 3. Establish Exact Performance Instructions – in Writing.

Be precise, specific, and detailed, in instructing the delegate how to get the job done. Put those instructions in writing. Have the delegate suggest changes in the instructions.

Save the written instructions so you do not have to reinvent the instructions or reinstruct the delegate.

# 4. Inspect the Performance, First Time, Then Sometimes.

The first time the job is done, inspect the delegated job after (not during) its performance. The next time it is done, assume it is done correctly, but give it a glance. The following times the job is done by the delegate — unless you need to look at your delegate’s work product to do your own job — don’t bother looking at it; assume the delegate did it right.

# 5. Give Specific Feedback.

Either give the person who did the job for you specific praise for what was done right, or tell the person the specific ways to improve the job.

Be sure to give high praise to a person who improved your instructions for getting the job done, or who made mid-course corrections or did problem-solving in getting the job done.