The Adaptive Agency Blog

Expert Delegation In 3 Questions

by | Aug 8, 2023 | Strategy

Delegation unlocks unlimited potential.

I’ve not found a limit to the leverage you can generate through dedicated delegation.

Sadly, delegating is neither well understood nor purposefully practiced.

These three questions will avail avenues of growth that otherwise cannot be accessed.


Question 1: Is it absolutely essential that I do this specific work or task?

Maybe you’re unparalleled at a particular task—nobody can match you.

Yet there is, assuredly, an activity more valuable than that one. Something more worthy of your time. And so it’s good to let go.

“But I’m a perfectionist!”

Perfectionism doesn’t scale.

“But I can’t trust anyone else to do it right!”

Low-trust doesn’t scale.

“But I enjoy doing that work!”

Still not scaling.

Only do things that are entirely essential for you to do. Some suggestions:

  1. Sharpening your saw.
  2. Having 1:1 team member meetings to connect, coach, and encourage.
  3. Meeting with your top clients.
  4. Vetting quality outsourcing partners.
  5. Aligning everyone with the big picture.

You’ll soon be shocked to see how much spare time emerges. Terrific! Don’t give in to guilt for feeling less busy. Rate your productivity by your fanatical focus, not your frantic fatigue.

You want a clear mind, not a cluttered mess.


Question 2: Before I delegate it, can I eliminate it, automate it, or outsource it?

You’re about to delegate something that’s low-value for you. But is it high-value for the team member you’re targeting?

Perhaps the task doesn’t belong on anyone’s plate. Maybe it shouldn’t exist at all.

A critical question is this: “What if we just stop doing this task?”

An amazing agent once shared a perplexing problem with me.

“Matt, I know I’m supposed to respond to all of my emails, but man, it just takes so much time and stresses me out so much. What can I do about that?”

“Don’t do it.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean stop answering email unless it’s critical.”


“Yes. Most email is garbage. If you ignore it and it’s important, they’ll try again soon. They don’t own your calendar or your mind.”

Burden dropped. Focus gained.

You can simply cease many tasks and abandon pedantic processes without consequence. If you can’t answer the question, “How does this produce value?” please consider cold turkey.

Otherwise, automate it. Find a way to make it get done without you.

And if that doesn’t work, outsource: pick a partner to help you hop directly from A to Z.


Question 3: To whom should I delegate it?

This next bit is critical. It has the most important implications for a service-providing. I’m paraphrasing David Maister, author of Managing The Professional Services Firm:

Pairing the right work with the right person is the strategic tip of the spear.


For several reasons:

  1. You’re getting it off your plate so you can focus on bigger things.
  2. You’re giving work to someone else that will help them grow and learn.
  3. You’re maximally leveraging your organization to produce value.

You should think hard about how and to whom you delegate. It’s the difference between making warm bodies busy and tutoring top talent.

When you do delegate, don’t just toss tasks at your team. Paint a picture. Something like this:

“Jeff, I have something I’d like to hand off to you. I’ve been doing it for a long time, but I realized that it’s time to let someone else learn how to do it. If you learn this and do it well, you’ll gain [benefit]. And as a team, it will help us to achieve [outcome]. It’s also going to free me up to focus on making some other improvements, such as [example].

 Here’s what success looks like for this initiative:

  1. [task] gets done by [deadline].
  2. [outcome] is achieved.
  3. [past mistake] is avoided.
  4. You create a narrative about it for your resume.

You’ll run with this, Jeff, but I’ll be a resource to help you if you run into trouble. What initial questions do you have?”

Imagine what a conversation like that will do for your team members. For your company. For your delegation skills.



When we talk about serious growth, we fancy phrases such as “compounding,” “scaling,” “leverage,” “big picture,” and “niche ownership.”

These all equate to speed. If you’re not delegating, you’re making yourself slow.

Delegating often and expertly will launch you to a new level. It will liberate you from the hamster wheel and lead you to a fulfilling, profitable slipstream.