Success in basketball depends on how many “touches” you get. You can’t shoot the ball or get points or get assists if you can’t get any “touches”.
If you’re a dependable ball handler or shooter, you’ll get lots of “touches”. Your coach and team mates will seek you out.
However, “touches” don’t come easy. You have to position yourself to get “touches”. You have to become “touch-worthy”! You have to hustle to get open and strategically position yourself to get rebounds. And then you have to DO something positive with the ball once you get it!
And so it is in life and work. We often have to scramble to get quality “touches” and be an integral part of the “game”.
Some people are content to sit on the bench as part of the “team”, and may even actively avoid getting “touches” … which would mean they’d actually have to DO something with the ball if it ever got to them. And when the ball does end up in their hands, it’s like a hot potato – to be handed off to someone ELSE as quickly as possible. While it’s possible, thus, to presumptively elevate oneself to an esteemed position of “triage gatekeeper”, this is not a luxury assignment most organizations can afford. And if it’s not consistent with the actual job description, an achievement gap of unresolvable proportions may develop.
Consider, alternatively, one who actively SEEKS OUT and scrambles to get “touches” … to a point of picking up overflow from OTHER people’s workload. Your team mate gets stuck in a “corner”, and you go “bail him out”.
And what about VERTICAL VECTORING – doing part of the boss’s job?
A staff associate – an actual “triage gatekeeper” for the organization – oversaw a massive workload for the Director. She “touched” almost everything that crossed the Director’s desk. At first, she simply organized, categorized and prioritized – “curated” – the workload before moving it to the Director’s desk. Then she started to take lower level/less significant things out of the pile to do herself … only asking the Director for his review/approval and signature for those things that required it. Over time, she began to put her personal “touch” on increasingly important workload elements, including major correspondence and staffing … all the time learning new things about the organization and its affiliates, learning new things about management, establishing vital resource alliances, problem-solving, and strategic planning. With this expanded role, she became recognized as THE key “Go To” employee within the organization, and was promoted to the level of Assistant Director.
During her tenure, the organization underwent multiple reorganizations, including the reigns of three different Directors and two major budget cuts. In a very real sense, her highly valued “touches” made her “untouchable” for downsizing.
Bottom Line: Go looking for “trouble” – go for extra “touches” that can make a difference. And add value to everything you do. Don’t just pass stuff along and try to fly below the radar. You’ll catch a lot of “flack” by putting yourself in the line of fire. But there are no “sidelines” in life. There is no “bench”. If you’re not “on the radar”, you’re not in the game … you’re toast! Get as many “touches” as you can and become “Untouchable” when the “chips are down”. Quartermaster