The Speed Of The Boss, Becomes The Speed Of The Team (thanks to Lee Lacocca)

speed of the boss

Years ago I had the opportunity to be part of a development team here in Los Angeles for a large, global entertainment company. The team was to put together by some of the brightest and best of the music/entertainment industry in the U.S. The reason for this was as follows. While the company had a large presence around the world…this team was being assembled to build the first e-commerce offering for the brand. The powers that be were aware enough to realize that the team had to work out of the Los Angeles office-home of Hollywood. It was an exciting and inspiring time. Nobody in the business world knew yet exactly was “e-commerce” was going to be-things still felt a bit…like the wild, wild West.

As things progressed and we inched closer to our launch date, I began to notice some interesting happenings in the office between the U.S. team and our counterparts in the U.K. Syntax of language became a big part of my day. We quickly became two teams divided by a common language. Here are some examples of what would happen. The word “sale” here in America indicates that some of the stock you hold is going to be put on a special discount…it’s going to be part of a “sale” you are having. This concept was met with horror and disbelief from our counterparts across the pond. In their mind a “sale” meant that times were tough and you were trying to liquidate stock…trying to save the business. As more of these terms came to light as being misinterpreted I realized I needed to quickly create a playbook…a glossary of terms that we would be using moving forward. It was initially looked upon as a bit of comic relief-but soon became the bible for both teams to fully understand how we were going to approach and assemble a marketing and sales plan that would help us hit our sales goal. There were a few lessons that I quickly learned from this scenario.

The first was-everybody on your team has to be on the same page. Whether separated by countries, cities or office-every team has to have a complete understanding of what goals of the business are-where you’re going. The second lesson I learned was even more important. The speed of the boss becomes the speed of the team. What that means is that if there are weak or insufficient leaders in place-it will hold the team back. Deadlines and goals will not be met-ever. Conversely, when there are leaders in place that inspire and continuously display a complete grasp and understanding of the business and the goals that are to be met-great things can and will happen.

Inspiration serves to motivate individuals to believe that they can do anything. They will make significant strides towards achieving their goals. Why? Because they believe they can. They see from their leaders that they can. They become more engaged-they believe more passionately that they will succeed. Their success quickly becomes the success of the company. A great secret and success only of any great company is not just measured in how well the “top” employees perform but rather in how some of the lower achievers are brought along-inspired developed and motivated. As always, onward and upward.

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