Follow me, team!
Teams illustrate an important lesson for us in leadership
It’s Sunday afternoon as I write this, but not just any Sunday. It’s Super Bowl Sunday, and a good part of the country is joining in the celebration of food, fun, family, friends and, oh yeah, football!
Some actually watch the entire game, but I suspect that most watch the commercials and just enjoy the day. There are teams involved, and they are good enough to illustrate an important lesson for us in leadership.
Let’s begin by watching those two teams come running out of the tunnel and onto the playing field. The one thing you’ve got to admire is the players’ enthusiasm as they follow their coaches and captains out onto the ole gridiron. They believe in them, and so they follow.
An old saying in football begins, “On any given Sunday…” This just means that the game doesn’t always go the way the coaches think it will, despite the best preparation they can give their teams. And their preparation is as immense as it is intense. They spend hours upon hours reviewing video and player stats, and entertaining hunches about their game plans. So do the players. Everyone plans on playing his best. Sometimes they do, and sometimes not. Sometimes they win and sometimes they lose, despite the best preparation that money can buy.
Some teams get to that final game via a run of good luck. But, mostly, it has to do with the quality of their organizations. And, if you did make it to that game, your organization probably has some quality leadership.
What about your company? When your crew “runs out of the tunnel” and takes the field, the probability for success that day already has been measured in the plans that your own coaches and captains – your PMs, PEs, schedulers, superintendents and foremen have laid out.
Some things you can control. Others are way beyond your capabilities. For instance: It’s one thing for you to properly and accurately lay out your job, measure your quantities, order your materials, and get the right crews in place. You’re a pro. But, truth be told, that’s not your biggest worry.
For a lot of us, we are hemmed in by huge federal, state and local bureaucracies, all seemingly bent on getting bigger still – usually, at our expense. Small or large, what can a company do to best protect itself? In the early years of professional football, all teams were struggling financially, until a league was formed, benefitting all the teams. Regarding the winning of World War II, all the countries that desired freedom, rather than imperialism or Nazism or fascism, came together to defeat a common enemy.
In construction, the same holds true. Most of us do not have a clue about what we ought to be doing when it comes to dealing with out-of-control agencies, special interest groups, and activists who want all growth to come to an end – now that they have moved into your neighborhood. Fortunately, a solution exists, and it’s right here: the MCAA, along with other industry associations, chambers of commerce, and groups of like-minded contractors.
Thomas Paine, one of this country’s greatest thinkers at its founding, and author of the book, “Common Sense,” urging people to take a stand for liberty, and to then move forward for that ideal, spoke out and told it like it was, “Lead…follow…or get out of the way!”
For us today, it’s more like, “…or get out of business.’
And, one of Paine’s contemporaries, Benjamin Franklin, reminded us, “We must all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall hang separately.”
The next time your crew takes the field, will it be a level playing field for your company? Will there even be a field for you? You have a say in the matter. In fact, you have an obligation to your family, business and industry to ensure that the field will remain level.
My advice is simple: Follow someone who knows the way. Be a part of something greater than yourself. That’s why I am allied with Masonry Magazine and the MCAA. They know where they are going, and I want to go there, too. Follow me!
About the Author
Gary Micheloni is a working project manager, speaker, author, consultant and coach. He has severals years of industry experience, including a background as a licensed general engineering contractor. For further information and insight on the Full Contact Project Management approach, write Coach Gary at FullContactTeam@gmail.com.