The Delegation Dilemma: Intent vs. Impact

We must engage in the hard work of clearly identifying the impact our projects need to have.

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$2 Billion a year in revenue. It’s a lot to manage. A friend did it for a while, running a company with hundreds of stores across the nation. His view on delegation changed my life.

Intent vs. Impact.

Often, we delegate a task to someone (clean the storeroom, finish the financial report, or prepare that presentation for the board) without being clear on the impact we’re looking to see. We give an outcome, but it’s not specifically clear on the impact we expect.

Then, if they seem to be going off script, we step into the process — micromanaging our staff — attempting to steer their work toward our “ideal” goal.

Our delegation dilemma comes when we communicate an intent (what we want them to do) but not the impact (final outcome) that we REALLY want to see.

As leaders, we must engage in the hard work of clearly identifying the impact our projects need to have.

Don’t delegate an intention for the storeroom to be clean. Delegate the impact of a storeroom where every item is clearly labeled and easily accessible.

Don’t delegate the intent of a complete financial report. Delegate the impact of a financial outlook which makes the board want to invest their own money.

Don’t delegate a presentation. Delegate the life change you want attendees to apply as they walk away.

Think about your last act of delegation. Was it an intent? Or an Impact? Can you go back and clarify a clear impact now?

Originally published at

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