Tip: Think big when delegating the small

When asking someone to do something small e.g a repeatable task that is relatively simple, make sure you paint the big picture.
Start by answering the “Why?” question early.

Tell the person you are delegating to:

  • Why you are delegating the task in the first place.
  • Why this relatively simple / repetitive task is vital to the big picture of what your organisation does.
  • Why you have specifically asked them to do the task. Highlight a particular skill/attribute they have that makes them the right person for the job.

If you skip the “Why” and go straight the “What” I can guarantee you will not end up the outcome you want.

An example; you are asking someone to call 50 guests who have not yet RSVP’d to an event. If this becomes a box ticking exercise for the person you delegate to, some of your best supporters, best customers or best volunteers could be on the receiving end of some pretty bad PR.

Before your event has even taken place you have created a negative user experience. Forget sound, lighting & great Keynote presentations, your poor delegation will have dented your chances of connecting with some of your audience in a significant way.

Compare the following two requests & consider which task you would give more energy to:

“We are holding an event in 2 weeks. I need you to make 50 phone calls for me before Monday, can you do it?


“We are holding an event in 2 weeks, we are still waiting to hear back from 50 of our best supporters, you are confident on the phone and have a good eye for details, could you do your everything you can to confirm attendees by Monday? I appreciate its a big ask but it could make a big impact on the next year of our organisation.”

The challenge: The next time you are delegating something small. Stop – seriously consider who you will delegate to, paint the big picture and then make the ask.

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