Six Tips for a Successful Swap

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Set clear objectives. When Roger Van Beeck went to Orlando as part of a FedEx rotation, he was clear about what he wanted to achieve: an understanding of how clearance works in the U.S. and of the ground, freight and other sister companies that FedEx operates in the U.S.

Be responsible for each others success. When Mary Gonzales and Philip Rencher swapped spots, they agreed that they would each be responsible for both jobs, not just their new positions. Mary and I were able to establish a relationship and a commitment to each other that we wouldnt fail, Rencher says.

Prepare both teams. Rencher visited Los Angeles prior to taking over for Gonzales, meeting her team members, business partners and outside customers. Gonzales took similar steps in the months before their swap. They also copied each other on e-mails, and they remotely joined each others meetings. We made sure everyone knew well in advance what was coming, Rencher says.

Prepare the bosses. Rencher says its important for supervisors to mentor without interfering. His boss in Memphis didnt call him with questions or concerns while he was in California; instead, his boss worked with Gonzales, and if she needed guidance, she could call him. We were setting up Mary to have the experience, but I was there to back her up, Rencher says.

Make good matches. There has to be some similarity in the skills and knowledge required in both jobs if you want to keep both operations running, says Walt Abercrombie, vice president of IT at FedEx Express Operations.

Pick motivated, self-reliant employees. It wont be successful if I or my [executive] counterparts have to spend a lot of time baby- sitting, Abercrombie says.

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Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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