Lessons Learned from Team 6

By Mac M. Martirossian, CPA

The recent mission into Pakistan by an unnamed group of brave souls referred to as Team 6, has brought a multitude of best practices with application in the business world.  Often times, we need inspiration from groups or individuals unrelated to the corporate universe, like Olympic teams and Military leaders, to remind of us what we are missing in accomplishing our own missions.

Clearly, the accomplishments of Team 6 reminded us of the importance of Courage when faced with tasks that take us completely out of our comfort zone; about Discipline and the need to concentrate of what must get done; about Confidence when put in a position of responsibility to lead a project; about Team work and how we must rely on the strength of cross functional teams when it comes to tackling complex projects and how we must have complete acceptance of what needs to get done, with no doubts.

Beyond these and other great messages, there are three key imperatives that this event brought to us and they are as follows:

  • Elite talent is a must have.   Hiring, training and retaining talent is the highest priority of successful organizations.  It is challenging, time consuming and daunting.  There is no substitute for a few GREAT people.  Yet, we tend to hire to fill open positions and do not reverse our decision inside that critical initial 90 day window, if it appears we made the wrong decision.  Talent, or lack thereof, will reveal itself in those first 90 days.  Once the individual has passed this first gate, extensive training must follow.  Finally, every effort must be made to retain this asset.
  • Preparation is a precursor for execution.  While organizations believe this in principle, the majority fail to invest in the preparation time.  Planning is viewed as “micro management”.  In many situations, the heavy lifting is in the preparation for a project because the elements of proper execution are mapped out and thus getting the job done flows smoothly with no surprises.
  • There must always be a Plan B.  Successful organizations bake-in an alternate plan in case unexpected events arise.  Nothing is left to chance.  There is an exit plan or an alternate path to take to get the original mission accomplished.  All too often, no time is devoted to this element and when roadblocks occur, the organization tries to react and most often fails to execute.

While we can’t carry out missions that have historical perspective, we can contribute to the successes of our respective organizations by adopting game changing business practices.

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