Derek Sivers

Programmer, writer, avid student of life. I make useful things, and share what I learn.

Articles → Trust but verify

Trust but verify.

Three words I wish I would have heard years ago.

A lesson in delegating that would have saved me so much frustration.

Running my first business with employees, it was a real effort to learn how to delegate.

Everyone knows that feeling: “They’re not doing it as good as me. Here - I’ll do it myself.”

I was trapped in that for years, so when it was obvious I had to delegate or die, I tried really hard to let go.

I tried not to micro-manage. To trust that they’re smart and will get the work done well.

But a few devastating times, I found out that I had tried too hard not to micro-manage. I hadn’t managed at all. I had said something once, thought it was understood and agreed, and assumed the best.

But things had gone horribly wrong. Months of orders had not been processed. Money had disappeared from the bank. Projects I thought were underway had never been started.

In all of the cases, a simple one-minute verification along the way would have prevented everything.

I could get mad at them, but really it was my fault for not building that verification step into the plan.

Not micro-managing, it can be as simple as:

So here I am sharing one of my hardest delegation lessons learned, in hindsight.

Trust but verify.