December 1, 2015

Why your business is like a rowing team

Have you ever watched teams of rowers – especially the larger boats (called “sculls”) crewed by eight rowers plus the Coxswain?
There’s more to that smooth, even, gliding movement than meets the eye.
And that’s why, in redesigning the Plotkin™ website, we chose a rowing team to represent our mission.

Why your business is like a rowing team

A rowing team – and your business – needs more than just quality, skilled people.

You need those people in the right seats, doing the jobs they’re most suited to do.

The Coxswain is the CEO, setting strategy, steering the boat, and calling out tactics to the team.

The Stroke, next in line to the CEO, is competitive and skilled. This is your VP of Sales (or the equivalent in your organization), setting the pace for success.

 The Seven position, just after the Stroke, anticipates timing and provides an example for the rest of the team – just as your HR leadership should be doing.
The middle crew, in positions Three through Six, are your line workers. Strong, dependable, and focused, they provide the day-to-day power driving your business’s success.
And finally, positions One and Two are the Bow Pair, responsible for the boat’s “set” and stability. These are your Operations team, building and maintaining a strong foundation in your infrastructure and facilities.

This is more than just an analogy.
When our clients first come to us, we see – over and over again – the importance of having the right people on the team in the right places.
It’s baffling when good people struggle to meet expectations, yet it’s often very simply because they’re in the wrong role.
For instance, we tend to expect our star performers in the Three through Six rowing positions – the line workers – to easily and naturally succeed when they’re promoted into a leadership role. Yet the skills required to be a good manager aren’t the same as what’s needed to be a good day-to-day team player. Management demands a different perspective, a more strategic mind-set, and a greater level of emotional intelligence.

This awareness is relevant in every aspect of employee acquisition and engagement, from hiring and training to teambuilding, talent development, and succession planning. Understanding the qualities as well as the skills and experience needed for the various roles within your organization provides you with thie insights you need to identify the people most suited for each role.

And it doesn’t stop there. You’ll also have the understanding you need to support those top-quality individuals in coming together to form high-performing teams committed to achieving your most challenging business goals.

As the old saying goes, “Everyone is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” When you know the individual strengths and weaknesses of your workforce and understand the demands of, at minimum, the key positions in your organization, you’ll never be in a position of asking fish to climb trees or eagles to walk on the ground.

And you won’t ask your Coxswain – the natural leaders in your organization – to settle for a Three through Six line-worker role. Or ask your Bow Pair – those who love the stability of building strong foundations – to step into the Stroke’s creative, ground-breaking, pace-setting responsibilities.

Curious to know more? Contact us today to learn about the Profile XT tool, which can help you hire and develop your best employees into their best positions in your organization.