“Nothing ever exists entirely alone. Everything is in relation to everything else.” ~ Buddha
Paul Allen…. Does the name ring a bell? ….. Bill Gates and Paul Allen…. Yes, now it must sound familiar……. but not sure ……. Didn’t Bill Gates and Paul Allen together create Microsoft?
Yet surprisingly, very few people know about Paul Allen’s existence in this capacity. Same is the story about Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, the co-founders of Apple Inc. The media glorifies only one who is more in the spotlight and media-savvy and yes, also more interesting of the duo. Again, as we go on to talk about Ford Motors, Henry Ford is the name that comes to the mind. Yet the fact of the matter is that there would be no Apple or Ford if there were no co-founders and co-idea-tors.
I believe individuality is over rated especially in the business world. The existence of even, one product is always the result of team work. The eco system is so co-dependent that even an iota of it, cannot survive independently.
Illustrating an instance here. Steve Wynn, founder of Wynn Resort & Casino, narrated this to his family on a holiday in Paris. They had chosen Four Seasons for the stay and had called in breakfast in bed. His little girl could not finish a croissant and wanted to eat it afterwards. Later the family stepped out for a tour of Paris and forgot all about the left-over breakfast. When they were back in their room, the croissant was not there, his daughter was disappointed.
There was a voice message on their room phone, from the reception. It said, the room service would serve a fresh croissant whenever they wanted. The kitchen was already informed by the front desk and they saved one for the little girl.
In this story of coordination and commitment, each one played an important part, and the team spirit was remarkable. The thoughtfulness displayed for the sake of customer happiness for a simple task was not ordinary to say the least.
There are sundry other examples where medium and small businesses are making efforts, to get into the core of this necessity, called team work. Such an out of the box but relevant concept called ‘role switch’, where employees swap their roles, to understand and experience, the issues faced by the other.
In the words of Lee Fisher, an HR manager at Blinds Direct, “successful teamwork should be based on solidarity, respect, communication, and mutual understanding.” Based on this value, his organization has been designing a slew of such team-building drills, for a very long time, reports Branislav Moga of Active Collab, a software agency in Real Life Examples of Successful Teamwork.
Indeed, every new company at its nascence starts with an individual. It’s all about who owns it. As it grows, the founder(s) recognize the importance of team work and team expertise. Creating a basis for mutual understanding, faith and setting aside individual egos is what finally builds a great team culture. This perspective was very well put through in Marvel’s film, Avengers. Working ‘together’ is one thing and ‘working together as a team’, making a collaborative effort to gain the final goal. If Thor, Captain America, Iron Man, Hulk worked as a team, they could take on anyone.
One of the most noteworthy team is, The Beatles. They have each other’s back, even the music they produce is the culmination of the best extracts from each one of them. Piyush Kedia, founder and CEO of Blue Vector, endorses this spirit of interdependence. In the article, These Entrepreneurs Share Ways to be an Effective Team Member, for Entrepreneur, India he says, “an agency set up thrives on chaos, and it does so because it is completely reliant on people and their interactions with each other.”
A start-up with low budget and a small team is the most vulnerable situation to watch out for — making the ends meet, getting the work done, staying calm during trial time and keeping the knot of the team intact. An ideal situation that can manifest team spirit in its truest and unique form. The Chinese view point, as per the Yin Yang explains how contrasting powers naturally complement each other to create a subtle support ground. This how a new team comes into being. Ditto for business ventures, different people bring out the best in each other to establish a compatible working relationship.
The perfect real life, story representation of the above concept goes like this, four friends, namely, Neil Parikh, T. Luke Sherwin, Gabriel Flateman and Jeff Chapin met Philip Krim —at their Manhattan co-working space in 2013. They had all faced losses and were disillusioned with their start-ups.
We all have to collaborate with co-workers, colleagues, and clients to get work done. Effective project management, where tasks are delineated, responsibility is assigned, milestones are defined and deadlines set, brings clarity to collaboration and paves the way to a much smoother workflow.
For starters, they wanted to choose a very basic consumer need and bring about a revolution in that field like Uber did for the car hailing market or Craigslist did for classified online ads.
They finally zeroed-in upon mattresses, as Krim had ground experience of selling mail-order bedding out of his dormitory at the University of Texas, ten years past. Casper, a mattress enterprise, was set up to create a fuss free shopping and delivery experience, not compromising on the product quality. They intelligently and purposefully tapped into each one’s unique capabilities and dissimilar back drops. Krim, obviously knew mattresses, Sherwin established a brand that people would relate to. Flateman, the chief technology officer was once a music student during college and had also dabbled in web designing. He took up web representation. Chapin had been a stylist with more than nine years’ experience in designs that are human-centred at IDEO.
All of them were from New York. They were aware of manually carrying the mattresses up to the fifth-floor stairs, which had only walk ups. There was a Eureka moment. An idea all of them agreed to, a boxed-up, compressed mattress that could be loaded with ease, up on the stairs, through corners and door entrances. It was also challenging for them to devise a smart way to store the huge mattresses in reasonably small areas. They cracked those issues anyway, the suppliers were ready and the product got introduced.
The response from the market was instantaneous!
“We generated $1 million in revenue in our first 28 days, blowing past all our expectations and projections,” said Krim. The business Casper was expected to bring in, for the first –year got realised in the very first month itself. As quoted by Jim Motavalli, in his piece written for Success magazine.
When diverse know-how, expertise and talent melt into one, the outcome is the birth of a new win-win business venture. This short story clearly illustrates what team work is all about. What’s your team story?