BL&T No. 187: The Importance of Capturing Vision for Delegation (& Dan Sullivan's 'Impact Filter')

Agency Leadership

This post originally appeared in my newsletter, Borrowed, Learned, & Thought. BL&T is sent weekly on Mondays. In every edition, I share lessons learned in agency leadership, life, and e-commerce. This post does not include all the details shared in the newsletter sent via email. Subscribe here.

Borrowed & Learned

Over the weekend, I came across the story of 27-year-old Russ Cook, better known as "Hardest Geezer," who set out to run the entire length of Africa just over 350 days ago. According to the BBC, Cook "had struggled with his mental health, gambling and drinking, and wanted to 'make a difference.'" He crossed the "finish line" yesterday, running the equivalent of 390 marathons, overcoming countless obstacles along the way, all while raising over half a million dollars.

I'm not about to compare myself to Cook, but the last several months at Barrel have felt a bit like running a series of marathons, each with its own set of hurdles and challenges. I prefer things to be action-packed over moving slowly; however, when you're moving fast to start new initiatives and maintain momentum in others, it can be easy to get lost in the work.

With all the action, I've been reflecting on how to involve others in what I'm working on more effectively. While I've gotten better at letting go and enlisting help over the years, I'm noticing a gap in ensuring everyone is aligned on the vision for every initiative and why it’s a meaningful pursuit.

In "Who Not How," Benjamin Hardy outlines the impact filter, a tool for delegating tasks to others (or 'whos'), conceptualized by Dan Sullivan. Hardy writes, "The impact filter helps to define the vision, what successful completion of the project looks like, and why it is so important. ... By clarifying the vision and its importance, [you] are able to give the relevant Whos the needed information to go and successfully execute. Far too often, the Who lacks critical clarity not only about the overall vision, but about their role in that vision."

I always make a note to paint the vision when kicking off initiatives and revisit it as we go, but I realize not having it documented is doing everyone a disservice, no matter how much progress it feels like we're making. Writing it down through the impact filter framework can help clarify my vision and reduce misinterpretation by the 'Whos' I enlist for help. It can also become a tool for my Whos to bring in their own Whos, avoiding the kinds of communication breakdowns you find in a game of whisper down the lane.

For those curious, here's a look at Dan Sullivan's impact filter framework.


How might the Impact Filter framework help me refine and clarify an initiative I'm currently working on for myself and my team?

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