Special Day

DEC 24, 2012

This time of year is great…and exhausting.  There is so much build up for the one special day.  It seems that we spend the entire month of December rushing to get ready for it but somehow we can’t really get the important stuff done/put together till 3am the night before.  (Those of you with kids know what I mean.)  It seems like the rushing and preparing is what some really enjoy.  I do not.  I find the rushing and crowds and craziness to be exhausting.  But after those cherished 3-4 hours of sleep, when that special morning comes, somehow everyone slows down and truly takes the time to enjoy what is happening around them.  Well, at least I try too.  When the craziness has stopped and everyone is sitting around enjoying each others company, doing puzzles, drinking hot chocolate, and just hanging out, is my favorite time.  Tomorrow is a special day.

I think one of the frustrating things about work is that we never really get that special day.  There is always the next month or next year to worry about.  We rush, prepare, stay up till 3am for clients…then do it all again the next day.  That is how I felt about Trace3 all year, until I did my leadership offsite on November 26th.  The first day of the meeting was difficult.  I told many that I was ready to pull my hair out at the end of that day.  And somehow, on November 27th, the clouds parted, the sun shined, and I could very clearly see Hayes’ future.  Better than that, I could very clearly see Trace3’s future.  What happened in those two days was transformational for me.  I believe they were transformational for the entire leadership team.  They were even a catalyst for a casualty in the team.  Shortly after the meeting Art decided to leave us.  I thank Art and the offsite for helping him see the lack of fit quickly.  You see, what we really did was discover if this was the team that would allow us to feel the way I described above.  “Sitting around, enjoying each others company, solving puzzles.”  We figured out what our weaknesses were, we discussed how to minimize those weaknesses as they related to the group and how to leverage each other’s strengths.  Most importantly, we made a commitment to hold EACH OTHER accountable.

Imagine that if you could.  Imagine if as a manager, you never needed to hold your reports accountable because they were holding each other accountable.  It would feel more like a team.  Think of the best functioning team you have ever played on or worked with.  Whether it was soccer, football, baseball, volleyball, basketball, water polo, etc, does not matter.  How did that team function when the players were accountable to each other and their respective positions.  What kind of trust was necessary between the players.  When the entire team just clicks, how special is that day?  At your most high functioning moments, what was the level of confidence and joy?

Well, on Nov 27th I just experienced that confidence and that joy.  I had spent much of 2012 redefining my team.  The last piece moved into place in Sept when Josh Berezin moved into the VP of Sales role.  But even will the additions of front line talent I lacked a key piece needed.   I lacked a coach/mentor that could help me realize my strength and weaknesses.  I lacked someone that could point at me and let me know some fundamentals on how to lead a large healthy organization.  It is such a different skill set than running a 60 person organization.  I lacked meeting structure and cadence.  I lacked an understanding of how to leverage a team and play my role as CEO and strategist.  I needed a coach.  I found that coach in Patrick Lencioni’s company “The Table Group.”  They led the offsite (based on his book “The Advantage”) and they provided me with clarity.

Clarity of Purpose

Clarity of Mission

Clarity of Role

Clarity on the Gaps

Clarity on Cadence

Clarity of what I did that hurt the company

Clarity of what I do that is special and very different.

I was so impressed with the session with the Table Group I would consider the 2 day offsite a defining moment in my career.  I am in talks with the Table Group now about doing the 2 day session with many of the teams at Trace3 to even further align the company and help us operate at a level much higher than we have before.

The Trace3 leadership team is now accountable to each other just as much if not more than they are accountable to me.  That is my Christmas present I have spent all year wrapping.  It is the present I gift to all of you in the new year.   There will be an email soon clarifying John’s role and specific duties as President, Todd’s promotion to VP of Marketing, Timothy’s additional GM duties in San Diego, Josh taking over all territories and expansion as VP of Sales for all of Trace3, Terri’s role in 2013 with Services, and much more.  They will be greater communication and training.  There will be clarity…

The hill Trace3 will take in 2013 has been marked and we are set to take it.  We will be a company of different divisions operating as one team.

Trace3 is about to enter Phase 2 of its life.  The first 10 years are now officially in the books.  In the next decade we will become a $1,000,000,000 company.  I have such a greater understanding of what it will take to accomplish this while still holding our core values and beliefs close.  It will take a Truly high functioning team.  There will be many puzzles to solve and mountains to climb.  I will now be doing both with a smile.  It is easy to smile when you have a team you believe in and trust.  There will be many special days in our future…

Happy Holiday’s everyone.


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