President, Lefkoe Institute
February 18, 2011

For many years I was a speaker for Vistage (formerly called TEC), an organization of C Level executives from small and medium-sized firms. I explained to thousands of them why they were not really running their organizations, because most behavior in organizations is determined by the individual beliefs held by their employees and by the organizational beliefs shared by all their employees.

Beliefs like: We can’t raise the money we need. We can’t outsource like other companies do. We’ll never find enough good employees. Our customers always ….We can’t afford ….We’ll never be able to …. We can’t….

Once they understood that virtually all our behavior — both in our personal lives and in our organizations — is determined by our beliefs, one of the first questions they would ask me was: What beliefs do I have that are keeping me from delegating more?

I have a hard time giving work away

They would regale me with stories of how they worked day and night to try to do all that needed to be done, but how they couldn’t get it all done no matter how many hours they worked. They would tell me how they promised their staff that they would start delegating more, but never got around to it. They just couldn’t understand why it was so difficult to do what they knew they should do — delegate more — and what they promised themselves and others they would do.

I always explained that our behavior is not the result of knowing what to do and being motivated to do it. Although most corporate training programs are based on the idea that information plus motivation equals behavior change, that model rarely works to change behavior in practice. As a result, most corporate training programs leave a lot to be desired when it comes to changing behavior.

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Behavior is always controlled by our beliefs, because, for us, our beliefs are reality. For us, our beliefs are accurate descriptions of reality.

Here are a few of the beliefs that make it difficult to delegate: People can’t be trusted. I have to do it all myself. The only way to be sure something will get done is to do it myself. What makes me good enough and important is what I accomplish. They won’t be able to do it themselves. I know what needs to be done; the people I manage don’t.

Can you see why someone who thought these statement were the truth about reality would want to do everything himself or herself, and would have a hard time delegating work?

Whenever you find that you or people in your company know what needs to be done and are not doing it, don’t worry about providing more information and more motivation. Instead, figure out what beliefs are preventing a behavior change, and then eliminate the limiting beliefs. You’ll be surprised at how fast behavior will change when the limiting beliefs are gone.

In my last post — “Do You Have a Hard Time Making Decisions?” — I provided the steps to a process you can use to eliminate simple beliefs, like the ones I listed above that usually inhibit delegation.

Try the process if delegation seems to be a problem in your organization and tell me and your fellow readers about the results you achieve.

Morty Lefkoe is the creator of The Lefkoe Method, a system for permanently eliminating limiting beliefs. For more information go to