Who’s Your First Team?

Business Unit or Corporate Division and Department leaders fall into this trap regularly: by competing to be “top dog” among the other units or divisions, they think they’ll be seen as Chain Links-croppedstrong leaders, huge assets to the Company. They see “their” division/department/unit as the priority, and all their effort goes into making “their” team (themselves and their subordinates) First.

And maybe they will “one-up” the other departments, in the short term. They get awards for strong sales, they get attention and accolades, and they get the admiration of their team members (and the envy of other teams). For now.

But what’s happening to the Company in the meantime? Especially if their “success” is at the expense of others?

Silos. Divisiveness. Secrecy. Protectiveness. Building resentments. One-upmanship at the expense of Company goals. Language like “my team,” and “my people,” instead of language emphasizing the Company’s work and what’s best for the Company.

And suddenly the Values the Company lists on its web site – values like integrity, trust, honesty, respect – start to seem like wallpaper, covering up a creeping mold underneath.  As that mold creeps through the Company, it sickens what it touches: employee passion and loyalty, client relationships, performance, decision-making, and ultimately the bottom line.

There’s a better way.

Your First Team is your peers, not those reporting to you!

Business leaders, managers and supervisors who build Company profitability and long-term success are those who see their own peers – those who lead other departments/divisions/units/teams in the Company – as their First Team.

Attending to your First Team means opening those silo doors and communicating. Finding out and supporting their priorities in context of what is best for the Company. Aligning the goals of each division with the Company’s mission, vision, and marketplace strategies. Building bridges of inter-reliance and inter-dependability. Challenging one another to improve together. Sharing knowledge and resources to make the WHOLE Company successful.

When you attend to keeping your First Team in sync and working together toward Company goals, then your approach to leading your business unit naturally changes. It becomes about everybody – across all roles — doing their best work to make the Company and each individual become great: strong and resilient.

Meeting that challenge is when you really become a huge asset.

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About Paul Kirpes, TPG Companies

For over 35 years, Paul J. Kirpes, Founder and President of TPG Companies, has transformed businesses, corporations, communities, and ventures in the private and public sectors throughout the U.S. as well as internationally. Paul empowers companies, their owners, and leaders to Transform, Perform and Grow!
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