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Why “playing like a team” is so important as Beattie Tartan celebates two years.

Wednesday, July 10 2019

When we launched Beattie Tartan two years ago, we followed Kevin Robert’s advice and created our ‘purpose on a page” .  We matched many of the beliefs we found in our parent company’s own culture, particularly “feeling like a family, playing like a team” “With stars in every position”.   Having participated in sports all my life including a few years as a masters rower, this analogy works for me and here’s why:

  • As a member of a team – we all had to row together towards the same goal. If one member was just not into it and didn’t practice with the same intensity – it showed. 
  • Everyone has a bad day- it was up to the team to support each other and carry us through to the finish line, without judgement. We had each other’s back, which is also essential in our day to day work. 
  • We got to know each other really well. We respected each other’s privacy but knew enough so that we could offer additional support, empathize when life was causing grief and positively recognize when team members were out performing each other. 
  • We knew each other’s weaknesses and strengths. We knew when to compensate with extra help and when to allow a team member to truly shine when we needed them most.  Egos and jealousy were our enemies.  Each of us was a star in our own way and we learned to appreciate each other’s strengths.   
  • To be the best we could be, we had to train and be coached every day. We responded best to positive reinforcement and when we were pushed to challenge ourselves.  We needed a big hairy audacious goal to strive for together – and this alignment is as important at Beattie Tartan as it was when I was rowing with my crew of eight. 
  • While rowing on a smooth lake was preferred, we had to be prepared to perform at ultimate levels in rough water as well. The crew that tackled adverse conditions head on and pulled together ultimately crossed the finish line first.
  • With experienced crew members came wisdom and confidence, newer crew members brought enthusiasm and that exceptional energy that propels them to prove themselves and become a true benefit to the overall crew.

Taking these learnings to the office every day, here are a few more ways we work to mimic the best practices of exceptional sports teams: 

  • Our veteran stars help set the culture with positive attitudes, willingness to coach and mentor while keeping criticism to themselves. They also look to the younger team members for fresh ideas and encourage them to speak up and participate fully. 
  • We watch for burn out by encouraging everyone to set their own “training” schedule while gently coaching when extra effort is needed. Extra hours are rewarded with extra time off and the whole team is working towards one revenue goal with incentives. 
  • Fail fast, learn fast, fix fast. Failures are lessons well learned. Taking risks trying to get exceptional results are applauded, doing nothing is rarely encouraged as an option. 
  • We use communications tools like daily team Skype huddles and Microsoft TEAMS to offer encouragement, celebrate each other’s wins and respond to calls for help as quickly as we can. With teams spread out across the country this is so important.
  • We shine a spotlight on each other’s strengths and hire to fill the gaps we know exist. Team members who step up to address a personal weakness with added training are celebrated. 
  • We study our competition and business ecosystem, planning for potential rough weather and discuss ways we can pivot, taking on new opportunities for both our business and our clients.
  • We manage issues early and respond immediately to crisis situations.
  • We practice our craft together, honing our skills and look to each other to provide encouragement and advice.

There are so many great sports quotes that resonate with business excellence out there and one of our favourites for ourselves and our clients is from Paul Bryant:  

 “It’s not the will to win that matters—everyone has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that matters.”

Every day we practice to be the best team we can be.