“Once momentum is lost, great power is needed to change that trend.”— Satoru Iwata

One of my clients was struggling with delegation to her team while another client was struggling with delegation to management above him.

Remember that delegation is the act of transferring the momentum of work you are trying to accomplish to someone else.

Thus, whatever direction you are delegating, it is important to consider Newton’s Laws of Motion. In this context, the laws have been translated into “Alan’s laws of delegation.”

  • 1st law: A body at rest stays at rest. And similarly, if it is already moving in a direction, there it goes.
  • 2nd law: Bigger objects are harder to move. Faster objects are harder to alter if they moving in a different direction than you want. Big and fast is harder yet.
  • 3rd law: When you apply force to something, it has to react. So there is hope to successful delegation!

Considering the three laws of delegation, here are three key steps to successful delegation.

  1. Define the direction.  Clearly define the goal and the directions towards that goal. Before doing delegation, you must be clear to yourself what you want to be delegated, why you want it delegated, and how important success is to you. When delegating, transfer that clarity and that importance to your delegate. 
  2. Provide the proper force. Understand the current state of the momentum of those to whom you wish to delegate. If they are already in motion towards your goal it is easier to successfully delegate.  If they are heading towards different goals, help change the forces acting upon them.  You may need to remove obstacles. You may need to change their priorities.
  3. Get Commitment.  Ask your delegates to be clear what they will accomplish by when. Ask them about how they will accomplish the mission. The answers to your questions are ensuring that the momentum of the action has been transferred from you to them.

One extra step – follow up.  We do not work in a frictionless vacuum. There will be gale-force winds that act upon those to whom we have delegated. There will be friction.  Get things moving with your powerful delegation, and ensure success by periodic monitoring of the speed and direction toward the goal.

Yours in the calm pursuit of excellence,

Alan Willett
You may also like:

Endurance Is Not Always a Virtue

I have seen leaders show great endurance in leading marathon projects. They are putting in marathon hours. The sweat sheen on them and their teams is obvious, even heroic.

Do You Need a Win?

A client wrote to me recently with a note that said simply “I need a win.” Have you been there, where it feels like you have faced a sudden losing streak and quite simply there is a need for a win? I have. I expect Elon Musk is looking for one with Tesla.

The Reader’s Edge

The exceptional leaders are voracious consumers of information. They listen to audio books, they read books, they seek out others to hear their stories. The things they read spans multiple genres, time periods, and cultures.


"Ritual is important to us as human beings. It ties us to our traditions and our histories." — Miller Williams, Poet My wife and I just celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary. Even though real work of building a life together happens in the minutes and hours between...


"Welcome to Sherwood!" — Robin Hood Father's Day was a delight for me. My family treated me a number of fun things. I was served breakfast in a hammock. I was treated to a delicious cold milkshake at a local ice-cream shop. My daughter and I have a plan to go buy some...


"I have never had to face anything that could overwhelm the native optimism and stubborn perseverance I was blessed with. " — Sonia Sotomayor One of my best clients and I were enjoying the start of our day at a local coffee cafe. We covered a range of topics and one...


"Language is the means of getting an idea from my brain into yours without surgery. " — Mark Amidon The Washington DC zoo has this very interesting roulette-style wheel located just past the cheetah exhibit. You spin the wheel to find out if you caught your prey, your...


"A strategic inflection point is a time in the life of a business when its fundamentals are about to change. that change can mean an opportunity to rise to new heights. But it may just as likely signal the beginning of the end." — Andrew Grover There are a wave of...


"Even though it is not always easy… being a planetary scientist is one of the coolest jobs on the planet!" — Elizabeth (Zibi) Turtle   Imagine exploring Titan! And to be clear, I am not referring to the planet Titan of Thanos (Avengers), I am referring to a...

Making the Leap

Paradigm leaps take need, courage, and sweat. You will notice a different look and feel to the newsletter this week. Earlier this year, I became unsatisfied with a few key things and decided to make some changes.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This