Handing Off Too Early

Missing business handoffsEntrepreneurs and executives tend to have the habit of handing off so they can move onto other aspects of a business for their limited attention and time. This is both necessary and desirable.

But the achilles heel that can crop up repeatedly is the timing of the hand off. The eagerness to move on without staying in the conversation with someone who will eventually take over can be painful for someone who is wanting to create and innovate. I can understand.

But handing off too early makes the work even tougher. You will have to revisit and apply more management time and attention to get the behaviors and results you might have otherwise envisioned.

I like the simple framework for building processes and systems with people:

  1. You do it.
  2. Then you bring someone to watch you do it.
  3. Then you do the work with them.
  4. Then you watch them do it.
  5. Then they bring someone to watch them do it.

That last point is an important one. It is the step towards mastery for to teach is to learn again.

Steps 3 and 4 can be the hard part for most creators. But it is necessary especially when you are with a doer. They want to do things well, but they need you to hang on longer than is natural for the creative types.

I think that some people never learn this process well. Their inner drive pulls them too strongly and they have a messy wake of work that is not thorough or complete.

For others, they may learn after many cycles of failure. It’s a hard but necessary lesson. Ultimately, it’s an exercise in discomfort.

But the cost of handing off too early shows up in lost time and opportunity, not to mention the discouragement for everyone.

When you hand off, do you move on too quickly? What if you lingered longer to see the work through the way you like?

Published by Don Dalrymple

I partner with founders and entrepreneurs in startup businesses. I write and consult on strategy, systems, team building and growing revenue.

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