TEAMWORK

 

Last week my husband and I were part of a group of hikers/birders who spent a morning canoeing down the Rio Grande River in Big Bend National Park (south of El Paso).
 
There were about 12 canoes with a team of two in each.  If you have ever canoed you know that the person in the rear steers and the one in the front supplies power.  The experienced river guides gave us a very brief “lesson” before we started out.  
 
A few in our group were very experienced, some were so-so (that was us) and another few were rookies.
 
To me, the experience teams were like a well-managed firm with a great leader. The leader sets the course (because you trust the person to do their job) and the team supplies the muscle (constant, yet usually gentle paddling) to continually propel the canoe (firm) forward.
 
The semi-experienced team might have a good leader but there are detours and bumps along the way, yet they continue to move steadily ahead.
 
The firm where the leader is not experienced (or not paying attention) results in the team being constantly confused to where they are headed. They continually zigzag forward, traveling twice the distance of the progressive, professionally managed, well-trained firms. Meanwhile, the leader and the team are both very frustrated.
 
As our guides told us, they have seen great marriages disintegrate when you put husband and wife in a canoe.
 
How’s your firm? Do you need more training and practice at canoeing?
 

"Love many, trust a few and always paddle your own canoe." - American Proverb

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Rita Keller is a nationally known CPA firm management consultant, speaker, author, mentor and blogger. She is a former shareholder and administrative partner in a successful, regional CPA firm and has over 30 years hands-on experience in CPA firm management, marketing, technology and administrative operations. She works with firms across the country focusing on people, partners and internal management issues.

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