Saturday, July 31, 2004

"Trade Deadlines" Aren't Just for Baseball Teams

The major league baseball (MLB) trade deadline is today. Why is that important? Because in order for a player to be eligible to play for a team in the post-season, he must be on their roster by the end of the day ... today. So we can probably expect a number of teams to make deals to swap some stars, journeymen, players-to-be-named-later, and cash, as they vie to position their rosters for their playoff run.

This led to this - thinking about the different departments, or 'teams' that exist in the MLB called 'your company'.

Look around. How many of people in your department are no longer as good a fit as you once thought them to be? Is that because they've changed? Is it because the requirements of their job have changed? Because you've changed? The point is that times change and sometimes those who were excellently matched for a particular job, no longer are. Not that they're problems that have to be dealt with, mind you; they've just plateaued in one way or another.

Now if you've got people like this in your department, it stands to reason that others have a similar situation in their departments. So wouldn't it be something if it became standard operating procedure for companies to have Trade Deadlines, too? Here's what that might look like:

  • "I'll give you John and Mary for Fred and a couple of upgraded printers."
  • "You give me someone who can write a crisp one-page memo and I'll give you someone who can answer the phone within two rings."
  • "I'll give you someone who has great rapport with the IT group in exchange for someone who works well with Accounting."
  • "You give me all of your direct reports and I'll give you all of mine!"

The possibilites are seemingly endless. But the bigger point is to remind you of two essential things:

THING ONE - Don't define people by the work they do. Define them by who they really are, and treat them with the utmost respect at all times.

THING TWO - Consider how you might do a better job of matching each employee's particular talents and intersts with the work that needs to be done.

Of course if you can't facilitate that kind of match within your department, you might want to check into what other departments are looking for. Who knows, you might be able to do some sort of trade! And the mere process of getting out there and seeing what's going on in other areas of the company will serve both you and your department in ways far greater than you imagine.



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