We remember the game as kids. The hot potato moved around the group and your job was to touch it and pass it. You were part of the game of movement. You lose if you hold on too long.
When you are dealing with information, you are holding the hot potato. The next person needs you to pass it. Your team member, boss, customer, vendor, or consultant needs the information you have.
If you hold on, you affect getting paid, creating opportunities or making customers happy. You become the bottleneck. And bottlenecks jam up the flow of deals and projects that keep moving despite your productivity or lack thereof.
Whether we like it or not, the game of hot potato never stops. We can just get better so the flow keeps going. It’s harder when you have to add more creativity to the flow of the game. It takes time, deliberation and accuracy if you have to come up with a creative solution to a problem.
If you are simply clerical, it can become boring. Getting paperwork processed, bills paid or HR forms filled can be tedious. That’s the temptation of letting robots do what we get bored of so human beings don’t hold the hot potato on critical path work.
Think about where you are in the game and how you handle information flow. The great news is that you can get better. You can become more effective by anticipating the work coming your way this day, this week or this year. You can be ready to execute.
Then when you get the pass, you can get the work to the next person that needs it quickly.
That’s how you play and win. It’s how you contribute when you are in the knowledge game.