Years ago, I outsourced someone to manage an important part of my business; we’ve worked together for years and created a successful process. Recently, there was a situation that required immediate attention. Upon calling, I was rushed off the phone due to their busy season and passed-off to a gentleman that was supposed to be more of an expert, had the time, and would be happy to help. All of this may have been true… but didn’t wipe away the yucky feeling I had of being discarded, passed-off, and having to start over with someone new, I didn’t know, or trust. Sound familiar? Either you’ve been there or you’re in a role of leadership and may have inadvertently done the same thing due to “Growth” or “Being Busy”.
Before my business evolved and I became a professional speaker and leadership trainer, my business was on college campuses and just starting in companies… and I was a piece of the puzzle. I had You Evolving Now Dreamleaders with expertise in forum facilitation and in other areas such as fitness, real estate, etc.; all focused on employee work/life harmony. However, when it was time to pass-off from me to them… colleges and companies wanted me! As a leader, you may be in this same situation where you’ve been promoted, business has grown or changed, or things have gotten busy, and it’s time to delegate and pass-off. So, how do you do it… without creating that yucky feeling for the client/customer and the low feeling in your people of not being able to measure up and not being wanted?
Who’s the person you have in mind to pass-off a task, client, customer to? This is an important question because the answer cannot be just anyone! Do they have the expertise and skill set? Are they new or newish and require more training and experience? Do they want the position or opportunity? It would be a shame to pass-off someone that doesn’t have the skill or has the skill but doesn’t wish to do it. When someone is passionate about their purpose and helping others, it shows; making their mistakes or lack of knowledge easier to forgive and patience more abundant!
Lastly, what’s their vision in taking over for you? You may be surprised at what they say! I’m honored to conduct Leadership Trainings around the world and every company has their own Mission Statement… and every leader has their own vision for their team… the fun starts when I ask them to say it aloud. The realness starts when I ask their Front-Line people the vision they have for themselves working within the team or organization. Some people have an answer, most don’t have a full answer, and none match perfectly with each other regarding the Mission Statement… and they don’t have to! The point is to know what their vision is, have them say it aloud, clean it up a bit when necessary, and add what I call the Vision Factors… the 3-5 things that when done consistently, the Vision takes care of itself. Knowing this and sharing this as a team will add to your value as a leader and will be an asset when passing-off your people to a customer/client!
As a leader, grooming is your responsibility! Be sure your people are equipped with the necessary knowledge, tools, and training to be the best they can be and the best their client-base needs. There’s no substitute for experience and that will come… we’ll cover that in a bit. You cannot help your people’s age or experience level, however you control over who you’re inviting into your team, knowing their purpose, helping to hone it and their skills, and maintaining high standards and expectations!
Before passing-off an employee or co-worker to a client or task, be sure they are aware of not only the job, but also the person they are doing the job for. Do they require training to do the task successfully and exceptionally? If not, provide it for them by sending them to a training, webinars during work hours, or provide them with the training yourself 1-on-1, in a group, or customize a self-recorded video they can watch… I’ve been there and done this… and this proved to be helpful; as this will not be the last time you will train someone or pass-off and now you have it set and ready to go! However you choose to move forward, be sure it’s with full intent to educate and inspire your people to be great and have some fun in the process. Remember, it’s not only your organization’s name being passed-off to a new client/customer… it’s yours too!
The Pass-Off isn’t meant to be this one magical moment, “Hi this is ____________. He/She is going to be working with you from here on out. Don’t worry, I’ve trained them. Bye!”. That would be awful! Or even worse, “I’ll have ____________ reach out to you. They’re taking over for me”. Or the dreaded, “I’ve move on or swamped right now, I’ll have __________ reach out to you.” What is that!!!
The Pass-Off is best to happen gradually, especially when you know it may eventually be necessary. As a leader, be sure to invite the employee or co-worker you’ve validated and groomed into current meetings with the client/customer. Begin by introducing them, who they are, what they do, and why they’re there. Candid is best… “We have great people and leaders here and want to be sure they get all the experience they can, meet our clients/customers; so as we grow, our people are able to move up without creating company and client chaos. __________ will most likely take over for me at some point and will be in charge of your account and business.”. As meetings progress, The Pass-Off Person is more included in conversations, shared ideas, then eventually leads the meetings, you begin the leave halfway through, then BAM… the meetings and client/customer is theirs. Of course, with being up-front to everyone about the process!
When you’re the employee or co-worker receiving the client/customer, here’s an important question to set you up for success. When I was a Mental Health Therapist I started every new session with the same series of questions and it made it easier for my clients… and for me! What brings you in? What would you like to get out of working with someone like me? Have you been in therapy before? What did you like about it or the therapist? What didn’t you like? This is how I work… let’s marry the two! These are some great questions for you when starting new work with a client/customer that’s been recently passed off to you. “I know you’ve worked with __________ for a while and they’re great! I want to create a great experience for you, what did you like about working with _____________? Anything you’d like to fine-tune or add as we move forward? This is how I like to work _____________ and I’m excited to get started!” Their answers are giving you a blueprint of how to excel. Simply listen, apply, and do… as long as it’s legal, doable, fair, and within your organizational and work/life harmony guidelines.
Passing-Off is not your last step as a leader! Remember, this may still be new for your people and up until this point… hopefully you know your client and their issues best. BE AVAILABLE to answer questions, emails, and texts pertaining to the pass-off. This keeps the train on the tracks and moving smoothly!
This process may be frustrating for you as you thought you were done and moved on to the other 7,000 things on your list. Therefore, it may make sense to schedule a regular time to meet regarding Pass-Offs. A monthly meeting on both of your schedules allows a designated time for non-emergency questions, follow-ups, and ideas to ensure your organization, team, and people stay elite in their service and customer/client satisfaction! Enjoy your Leader’s Pass-Off and your evolution!!!
“As a leader, grooming is your responsibility! Be sure your people are equipped with the necessary knowledge, tools, and training to be the best they can be and the best their client-base needs” – Andre Young
Written by: Andre Young
Click www.youevolvingnow.com to find out more about Andre Young’s Leadership & Work/Life Harmony Trainings, Speaking Engagements, Books, and more; evolving your organization, your leaders, employees, and teams!