How Management is Like a Team Sport

I’m excited! 

I get to spend the next two weeks with great people with brilliant minds and tremendous character. This week, the senior management team of The Austin Company will meet, as we do three times a year, to discuss our progress as a company, key issues, and plan the future. This team is comprised of both new managers, and some that have 30-40 years with Austin.

Then next week, I get to spend with our Leadership Development Team – less experienced employees who show the potential to be part of the senior management meeting in the future. In a sense, the next two weeks will be a tour of the past, the present, and the future of The Austin Company. 

As with any professional service firm, we are made up of our people and the processes, systems and procedures that guide our efforts and enable us to work as a team to accomplish our goals. Management of professional service firms is, in some ways, the constant coordination and organization of the people and processes that make up the organization. How well we do this is always the challenge.

Recently, I came across an archival piece from the 1940s about The Austin Method®. It was in the introduction to an Austin Project Supervisors Manual. It still reads true today for almost all of what was said in the introduction. In addition, the last lines of the document state that “in the end, The Austin Method® is made up of people and processes.”

So we begin the next two weeks looking for ways to improve how we apply our processes, and how we improve our most important asset for applying those processes – our people.

Every significant thing we do as a Company, we accomplish as a team of people dedicated to working on an assignment. In such an environment, everybody has a specific role to play, but their activities are orchestrated as part of the overall movement of the organization. How well everyone plays their part is fundamental to how well the “game” is performed.

I watched my son’s soccer team from the time he was 8 years old to high school – pretty much the same kids and the same coach. At some point in their maturity as a team, they clicked. They knew where they were supposed to be and could rely on their teammate to be there when they dropped the ball back to avoid a defender.

In many ways, management is about getting the team to click on a project, as an operating unit, as a company. When it happens, it is a beautiful thing and requires celebration. So I get to spend the next two weeks working with great people, engaging us all in the experiences that are necessary to create the reliance that comes with teamwork and always looking for ways to celebrate the victories.

Can’t wait!         

"Coming together is a beginning.

Keeping together is progress.

Working together is success."

Henry Ford

"Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships."

Michael Jordan