The art of making an assignment

Key to almost every sport is the pass from one player to another. In basketball it may be the bounce pass; in soccer, the push pass; in football, the lateral; or in track, the baton pass. In the corporate world it is the assignment.  The right handling of a task by a team member may result either in a success or a setback.

Make sure your pass is accurate. What is your knowledge of the task and assignment? Do you know enough about it to be able to explain it in detail to a team member? Incomplete details can show up in poor production. Does the assignment come with a written job description, line of command, end goals, and due date?

Make sure the receiver is in place. Is the assignment timely? Does the receiver have the knowledge and skill to handle it? Does the receiver know you trust them? Is the due date reasonable? What backup have you provided? What resources are you making available?

Make sure your pass is solid. In sports, once the ball or baton is extended, there’s no turning back. A solid pass results when the passer has confidence in the receiver. The completed pass is a team victory, but the receiver usually gets the credit. Strong leadership can handle the applause given to the one who makes the gain or crosses the goal line.

Make sure the pass is complete. There’s no holding back. You make the pass, you live with the results—period. Then, get ready to celebrate the victory won by the team member, or be ready to reflect, review, and reassign. Once you make the pass, your job is to acknowledge the effort—exuberantly.

Game on!

— Stan Toler