What Color is Your Uniform?

Change Your UniformLast night I watched teenage boys celebrate the end of their basketball season. There were four teams, Blue, White, Red and Wildcats. All of the boys were classmates. The Red and White teams were in the same league so they had played each other during their regular season. For three months, there had been trash talk between these boys:

“Social media replaces all other marketing.”

“Direct mail brings in the money.”

“If it wasn’t for marketing, operations wouldn’t exist.”

“Operations fix the problems marketing creates.”

Oops! Wrong boys. I’ll get to them in a bit. The basketball boys were more into “our team is better than yours because we play in a tougher league” or “we’re gonna trash you when we play tonight“.

So how do all American boys celebrate the end of their basketball season? By playing more basketball!

And, it was a sight to see. Every boy played to win with plenty of good-natured prodding along the way. The event consisted of round robin five minute games. During the third game, one of the teams waiting to play started counting down as though there were only seconds left in the game. The team with the ball rushed to shoot…and missed. Cause and effect had been found, so every remaining game had multiple countdowns.

The real moment of discovery was when the head coach called for the Red team to join the White one. They would be playing the Blue team. The boys, who had been adversaries for the entire season, never hesitated. The red shirts were reversed to white and they played as though they had been teammates all season.

Their goal was to win the game and winning required teamwork.

Do the departments in your company function the same way?

Or, do they position themselves for departmental victories, even if it means the corporate game is lost?

Too often departmental or personal victories overcome corporate objectives. When this happens, everyone loses. Integrated marketing means that all teams work together for common goals. And, by ALL, I mean every department in the organization from marketing to operations.

Friendly competition is good as long as it doesn’t interfere with the bigger plan. So put on your departmental colors and go get them. Make your department the best it can be. But when it is time to join forces for the company, don’t hesitate to change your colors. Winning requires teamwork.

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