After one of our recent brutal winters, including over 4′ of snow, we paid the price for them by replacing the 28-year-old roof on our house. We talked to roofers and selected one with a large number of crews and manpower to draw from, and after checking out some of their work, set up a contract based on an agreed-to price, and waited for the crew to arrive. A week or so later, the project manager called and said we’d be receiving a delivery of our shingles the next day, and that the job would be done in one day. We were amazed, as the roof is rather large and complicated as roofs go, lots of valleys and it’s a hip roof, so there’s lots of guttering and ridge cap and such – a big job for most crews.
The day came, and at an early hour, four trucks pulled into the driveway and disgorged over a dozen workers, including a huge flatbed delivery truck with a remote operated hydraulic crane. The proceeded to unload their gear, get their materials in place and set to work, with very little conversation or communication of any kind. Like a well-oiled machine, they each knew their role and carried it out at the right time in the right order, and low and behold, within 30 hours of their starting time, the job was completed, just a few moments shy of a thunderstorm.
Think how effective your marketing team is when faced with a challenge of this magnitude, how they are given direction, how they work together, how much they accomplish in a compressed time frame. To most office-based teams, the level of teamwork and coordination evidenced by these roofers is not only impossible, but alien to their nature. Not one of these workers told the others, “no, it’s your job, I’ll only handle this” or “I’m on a break, you do it” or pointed any fingers at the others when there was a discrepancy – they just worked quietly and competently along side one another, and got the job done, so they could go home. They were quiet, respectful of not only us and our property but of each other. And these were not highly paid, well-read educated executives, they were hourly laborers.
There is great value in knowing your job thoroughly, understanding your role in the organization, taking responsibility for yourself and your actions, and doing a job well. Working in a team that functions smoothly involves all of this and more. Some of the responsibility for the team’s success falls to the leader, or manager, of the team. Clearly this team had been trained, and supervised carefully until they worked together well, but that wasn’t all of it. Part of their success lies in believing in a common purpose – “us against the mountain” mentality, rising to the occasion to meet a common challenge. The sense of personal accomplishment is shared by all, and they can retire at the end of the day knowing they accomplished a job well done. In return, they received a stable stream of work, a reasonable pay, and the admiration of their customers and colleagues alike for a tough task accomplished.
If only some of our leaders and top execs in the financial community took some of those values to heart, we’d all be in a better place right now. The leaders failed the team and the public in those cases, and education or compensation for the job didn’t have anything to do with it.
Next time you’re going to initiate a new marketing campaign, pull your team together for a kick-off meeting and try and instill those same values those roofers showed in your team. It’s tougher than it sounds . . .
Tell me about your most rewarding teamwork experience, no matter what the industry . . .
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