February 7, 2018

Norman Rockwell’s illustration from 1936

I am known for preferring to learn from art than from business.

A good story to learn from is Tom Sawyer’s Strafarbeit, where he had to paint the fence.

The story is not only a good lesson in converting a punishment into a successful enterprise, which ends up w/ everyone being happier than before, but also a lesson in delegation.

There are two aspects of delegation —

— delegating something you like

— growing and letting grow

One of the struggles related to delegation comes from having to let go something you like, something you’ve grown used to, something you know. Even if you do not particularly like it, sometime the need to move from something known to something unknown is a deterrent enough to let go.

Yesterday I had a lunch with a partner in one of the The Big Four and she told me an interesting story about how, when she was offered the position, she told them that she sees herself in that position for a maximum of 10 years. She said, that in 10 years she should have learned enough to move forward. And those behind her should have learned enough to move forward too, someone taking her place.


Have a question or need help? I answer questions gladly and provide, occasionally, a 1920s style Sam Mussabini mentoring pro bono. Drop me a line at

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