Sometimes, you take stuff for granted. Things happily get done and you don’t notice. You just show up, and go about your business. I was thinking about this as I power washed a deck yesterday for a few hours.
At Triton College throughout the 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s, they had some of the top baseball teams in the country. When I was there the outfield was manned by Kirby Puckett, Lance Johnson, and another guy. Kirby made the Hall of Fame. He and I were friends back then. Lance Johnson played a long career in the major leagues. Triton had a lot of guys make the big leagues.
Their manager, Bob Symonds, was great, but he was a taskmaster. 80 of his players were drafted by major-league clubs, and 56 signed professional contracts. In 33 years he compiled a record of 1373-457. Everything they did had a purpose. He led the program with a lot of discipline.
Kids in college always need money so Symonds found a way for the school to employ them as groundskeepers. The team mowed grass, raked dirt, picked weeds, cleaned seats, and did all the things a groundskeeper would do for a field. Triton’s field was meticulous, and it was a gem.
The players on the team were really proud of their home field. They defended it. Because the diamond was integral to the game, taking care of it was like taking care of a lot of other things that had to do with the game. Taking care of the little things caused them to take care of the big things which brought them championships. Winning and taking care of business was ingrained in the team culture and transcended the years. That’s hard to do at a two-year school.
It might be worth it for a startup founder to think about this. Is there what appears to be a menial task that might be taken care of by your team instead of outsourcing it? Is that task a part of the infrastructure or backbone of the organization?
A lot of times, companies do fancy off-sites. Or, they will try to do a community service project or some sort of party with a flourish. That’s fine. But, doing something daily that’s small and meaningful to the outcome of the business will mean more to the culture than a one time event.
Having your own team take care of that task can be a catalyst to them working together to take on larger tasks and propel the company to successful outcomes.