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The Hand-off

If you are moving a transaction on to another team member, for whatever reason, you should consider what they need to do their job more efficiently and efficiently.

I was thinking about simple ways people can boost their standing in an organization, and I kept circling back to the hand-off.

Falling in line with my love of teamwork; the hand-off is how information travels from person to person, department to department, or process to process.

Here’s a sports analogy – kicking field goals in football (American football – as those that know me might be confused which one I was referring to) requires three players to coordinate and move the football in a fashion to get the kick out and up in about 1.2 to 1.4 seconds. (So the title of this is ‘The Hand-off’ but I chose a field goal as an example, I get it, but the field goal is a better example, and the hand-off is a better title.)

To start the long snapper needs to hike the ball to the holder.  The ball needs to travel seven yards, and arrive at the knelt down holder’s hands, creating a relatively small target.  If the snap is too high, the holder will need to stand, too low and you risk hitting the ground and botching the play, a lousy wobble on the ball and the holder might not be able to handle it at all.

The holder will need to catch the ball, place it down on the ground, with a particular angle and orientation (“laces out!”). Any deviation from what the kick is expecting can lead to an errant kick.

The final phase, which starts before the holder is completely set, is the kicker making his three-yard approach and executing his kick.

In order to reach success, there needs to be synchronization between all three of these players.  They need to understand what exactly each person needs, and why they need it.

It’s a simple analogy but demonstrates how vital the orientation of information, in the example above the info is the ball, can impact the receiver of that information.

Swinging it back to business, I believe if you are moving a transaction on to another team member, for whatever reason, you should consider what they need to do their job more efficiently and effectively.

To be able to get that info there and in a way that is useful, you will need to ask how they would prefer that information, and for even better understanding you should follow up with why. Cross training is the best way to understand the how’s and why’s, but that’s not always possible.  Part of gathering that info will help you build some rapport with your teammates, showing you are concerned for the work you are putting on their desk, and how that works affects them.

It’s important that you cater to what the receiver believes is valuable, not necessarily what you believe is valuable. You will need to be open to constructive criticism. To generate more value and raise your standing in an organization, you will need to worry less about making your life easier, and more about making your teammates lives easier.

What’s nice is that if everyone around you thinks and acts the same way, it’s a race to the top, everyone trying to help one another, ultimately refining your organizational processes (I’m a big fan of that too!) to achieve gains on efficiency and effectiveness.

Thanks for reading,