Passing the Baton

At LinkedIn Answers, Rony Szleifer asked, What can the Olympics teach us about organizational performance?" Good question!

One lesson we can explore is the importance of handoffs.

A friend of mine, who is an expert in Track & Field, was analyzing the recent losses in the Olympics relay races. His comment was that some of these great runners lost on the handoffs. He explained that Olympic level runners, who are at the top of their sport and often have a very inflated self-image, have no time or patience to practice the handoffs. So, when the big race came, they blew it on this crucial detail.

This, I believe, is a direct lesson for organizational performance. No organization can operate without handoffs, for example Sales to Operations to Customer Care. It's not enough for each unit to be very good at what they do. Overall success depends upon the units handing off to each other seamlessly.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, August 23, 2008


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