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“It is teamwork that remains the ultimate competitive advantage, both because it is so powerful and so rare.”
A highlight of the summer of 2019 was the FIFA Women’s World Cup which set attendance records thanks to a spectacularly exciting tournament. You couldn’t help but watch in awe at the speed and complexity of play. Like all top-performing sports teams, when the women were “in the zone” they ran play after play, adjusting to competitive challenges in real-time, with minimal visible communication between them. There was constant, rapid-fire passing seemingly without looking at each other. Each person just knew what to do and where the others were at any given time. It was almost a surreal experience to see them compete.
The formula for such top-performing teams is well known: commitment to excellence in skills, adherence to the playbook and complete trust, across the entire team including coaches and support staff, that everyone is equally dedicated to the first two. Of these, trust is the most important element. Trust is evident in the confidence each player has in their teammates to play their position and in the strategy behind the plays. Without it, you have second-guessing and plays that just aren’t executed at the precision required to win. When it all comes together there is success and almost limitless excitement within the team. We saw this with the US women’s team who seemed to have boundless enthusiasm while together both on and off the field.
At the risk of sounding cliché, the same concepts apply in business. Although here, “team” is defined as a business inclusive of its’ extended community of partners. For a business to successfully go to market with distributors, resellers and managed service providers (as is the case of the Ruckus brand within CommScope), the channel and the brands have to be one team. This means there is a joint commitment to building the skills necessary to deliver great customer experiences. It also requires that everyone follow the playbook defining how we work together. Sacrificing either side for short term gains is not tolerated. A deep commitment to winning (or losing) together is the foundation of the long-term trust between the brand and the channel that is a competitive advantage for both sides.
Despite the multiple changes in control experienced by the Ruckus business over the last few years, the trust in, and passion for, the Ruckus brand, and the opportunity now presented by CommScope, was on full display at the annual Big Dogs event in Bangkok. At this over-sold event, the partners trusted the new CommScope team to make the investment of their precious time and resources worthwhile. The partners knew they would gain new information to help them grow their businesses. The CommScope team trusted the partners by confidentially sharing strategies and plans for the future of networking. From the crowded sponsor/demo pavilion to the numerous selfies at the social events, the excitement about redefining the future together was palpable.
In the modern world of indirect go-to-market, the ingredients for success seen in top-performing athletic teams apply equally to the one team of the brand and the partners. One team committed to excellence in serving the customer and to a relationship built on a foundation of trust.
Another classic quote on this topic is from Babe Ruth who is credited with saying:
“You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.”
This applies equally as well to brands working with their partners. Success means playing together as one top-performing team.