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Team Edition: The Best Team I Ever Worked For

February 9, 2018

Who’s the best lawman?

Best? You mean toughest? Or easist to bribe?

Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid

We’ve all been part of a team. Maybe it was a formal team with a manager and matching shirts. Maybe it was an informal team where everyone came from different departments. Whichever example you have, good teams have certain things in common. Good teams depend on and trust one another. Great teams get to the point where members anticipate each others needs.

Most teams I’ve been on have at times been the best team I worked on. In the early 1990’s I worked for WordPerfect. Daryl Carter, a Marketing Manager over the new email program, WordPerfect Office, came to me and asked me to take on a troubled account. The Environmental Protection Agency was trying to put 30,000 people on our new email system and it wasn’t going well. In fact, it was going terribly. They had decided they were throwing our product out,

Who’s product are you going to replace it with?

Anyone but yours.

Daryl asked me to take over the account. “Do whatever you need to do make them happy.” I had the full support management. I had a really challenging project. And I got to work with some really interesting people. And we pulled it off. Not only did we save the account, we realized we could set up an entire team to do the same thing for other accounts. It was called the Strategic WordPerfect Assistance Team (SWAT.) Coolest business cards I ever had. It was a very fun time, but not the best team I ever worked on.

I love to teach. While at Microsoft I worked on a team that was responsible for writing training material for Microsoft Exchange. At one point we got a new manager. Sally was one of the top 3 best managers I ever worked for. She completely supported my role on the team. I ended up writing a very poorly titled course called “Exchange Advanced Topics.” Terrible name, but a really cool team. It was a course that taught support agents how to read network traces. It was literally a once in a career time. The course was by far the most popular course we had ever written; not just for Exchange but for any Microsoft product.

I got to travel all over the world teaching that course. And everywhere I taught it, it got rave reviews. It was a wonderful time in my career. Eventually, the company reorganized the department, and Sally moved to a different company and we all went to different positions. It was a great time, but it was not my best team.

I was driving home from Yellowstone with my kids. My wife had stayed for a few days with her sisters. My cell phone rang and it was a senior executive from our biggest client. He asked me to take on a special project. I had no idea he even knew who I was. I’m not sure who he tracked me down. But, it was a fantastic opportunity. Of course, I still had to do my normal job, but I had this exciting project to work on as well.

The project went on for nearly two years. We created new technology. We worked across 4 states. We migrated thousands of users. We did the near impossible. And we finished last week. It’s the best team I’ve ever been on. . .probably until the next one.

This is the third in a three part series on teams
Wednesday: Building Teams From The Inside Out
Thursday: Building Teams From The Outside In
Friday: The Best Team I’ve Ever Been On

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss)
Facebook (www.facebook.com/rbliss)
LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/in/rbliss)
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2017 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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