Passing the baton

Jan 20, 2011

Here’s the organization that wins: The organization that most effectively and efficiently passes the baton.Think of a 4 x 400 yard relay race. It isn’t the team with the fastest runners that will necessarily win. If those fast runners screw up at the handover, they’re toast. Your team can be as individually brilliant as all get out, but if they can’t hand off the baton to each other, you lose. The other, slower team wins.

It’s not easy to hand off the baton from R&D to engineering, from engineering to production, from production to marketing, from marketing to sales, from sales to purchasing, from purchasing to warehousing, from warehousing to value add, from value add to delivery, from delivery to installation, from installation to service, from service to R&D (or whatever your eco-sequence is). There are a lot of places to drop the baton – a lot of places where the other team can win.

Are your managers dropping the baton by infighting, laziness, turf protection or plain incompetence, leaving you to depend on a stellar performer to break the world record every time on his or her leg, just so you can stay in the race?

Run fast, pass the baton, you win. Run faster, drop the baton, you lose.