Perhaps the best midfielder in the world, Xavi, explains how he and Barcelona is so successful in the game of soccer: “I get the ball, I pass the ball. I get the ball, I pass the ball”.
I use his quote to make business people understand what 100% responsibility, simplicity and immediate relevance is all about. It is a simple enough statement, but it is only immediately relevant in business when you understand the meaning of the two operative words “get” and “pass”. Xavi didn’t say “I happen to get the ball, I get rid of the ball. The ball got to me, I kick it somewhere.”
Let’s take a look at the definitions of those words. From Mirriam Webster’s:
Get: To gain possession of, to seek out and obtain.
To “get” the ball means to seek out and obtain and gain possession of the ball. It is a causative action – the player takes 100% responsibility for the input – getting the ball under his control.
And for the sports definition of “pass”, we turn to Wiktionary:
Pass: The act of moving the ball or puck from one player to another.
To “pass” the ball is to take 100% responsibility for the output – that the ball passes from one’s own control to that of a teammate.
This is the essence of the article titled “Processes, automation and human potential“. It is a simple concept and very visible when it fails or succeeds in soccer. But oh so difficult to get people to understand and practice in the business world.
One doesn’t just sit around and wait for the input, one obtains the input needed to produce value in one’s job. One takes 100% responsibility for getting what one needs in order to deliver what is expected. And 100% responsibility means no blame, shame or regret – only that one gets the needed input.
And one doesn’t just pass off any package out of one’s area of responsibility. One ensures the customer really gets the value expected, or better. The customer is the recipient of the value one creates. whether internal or external to the company.
This is all about 100% responsibility. And it is simple – that’s why it works so well. And it is immediately relevant. Even in the family, among friends or in business.
Xavi really gets it, and he’s the best.