Journey of a Texas Team
October 11, 2010 11:54PM
This is a rather special moment in time in the history of a
business, a team, a product launch. It might make Seth Godin
smile. I'm pretty sure he has a bug in our office anyway - so maybe
he's already smiling. The last few months have been tough frankly.
We announced a dream, a vision, a plan; everyone got excited, we
believed our own press clippings for awhile. Then reality set in.
Big dream, big vision; the plan part - well down here in Texas
there is an expression about "Big Hat, No Cattle". In our case it
meant amazing goal, and a pretty unrealistic plan.
We're smart. We're educated. We're entrepreneurs. We work hard.
Actually we work really hard. So if you get into a jam, you figure
it out, you tough it out, you work longer hours, you throw money at
it, you pray, you will it to work out. But this time it didn't. The
dream was too big - the vision was too far in the distance, and the
plan started to change daily. We started to fray around the edges.
We lost some good people along the way.
But then we started to come together every day - sometimes two
or three times a day. Leadership, teamwork, determination, and
pride in authorship of something bigger than just ourselves kicked
in - and to a person everyone did more - better - with more grace -
more grit - and with more concern about their co-workers than we
had ever mustered. Long weeks, longer weekends, 3AM emails, lots of
community meals - a few little meltdowns, some tears, but more
laughter, and deepening pride.
It's almost midnight - no one is even talking about leaving -
tonight we get closer to the dream, and a lot closer to being back
to having a plan. A few took time to go home and kiss the kids
goodnight, let the dogs out, go to a meeting, pick up another
dinner for co-workers - but everyone is back. Someone asked if we
should take some pictures so we remember this night? Not really a
chance that anyone will forget.
I have never been surer that when a really good team can get
past hierarchy to collaboration - they can become a really great
team. The sum is infintely greater than all of its parts. Tired,
grateful, humble, optimistic, and in awe of what a small determined
team has accomplished. Maybe I should get everybody a Big Hat.