Our Founder and President, Tracy Eames walks us through:
- Examples of how organizations (2:20) can inadvertently create friction points for their teams, and how they can remove those to help their teams deliver results. (2:20)
- What new resources that the TEAMES & Co Team is developing (11:30)
- How TEAMES a& CO is launching digital resources to help individual leaders develop their leadership skills and be prepared for recent changes. (14:04)
Listen to Episode 1
Luis Wilson: Hi everyone. I am Luis Wilson. I'm sitting down with Tracy Eames. On today's episode we discuss how our firm Teames and Co came to be and the philosophy behind it. Tracy, can you tell me about where the idea came from for building Teames and Co?
Tracy Eames: Yeah, of course. Throughout my career I noticed that there was a disconnect oftentimes when I was working on cross functional teams or working at different organizations of different sizes and I was presented with these situations where it was really clear to me that strategy, the customer experience, and team development were disconnected and there wasn't alignment on them.
As leaders, we often speak about these areas as if they're not connected, when in reality, linking them together is what really drives our success. At Teames and Company we're focused on helping organizations align their strategy with their customer experience, as well as the organizational design.
This really means outlining what's valuable to your customer, how are you going to provide that value to your customer and how is your organization and how are your teams aligned to make sure that you're able to achieve that? This way we're really able to break down silos, reduce friction points between teams, and ultimately enable our teams to be successful.
Luis Wilson: Interesting. Now I want to understand a little bit about how so? Could you give me an example of when you've seen this disjointness or this disconnect between the strategy, the customer experience, and team development?
Tracy Eames: Yeah, of course. I think what I'll try to do is I'll give a couple of examples from a couple of different points of view in functional areas and hopefully that way our listeners can connect with some of the examples.
I think we've all been in meetings where maybe we see this happening. One common meeting is I've been in these where HR leaders are talking about employee engagement and how important that is and different initiatives to be able to bolster employee engagement. In those same meetings, business leaders in the functional area are talking about strategy and how they need to achieve results.
Oftentimes it seems like people are talking past each other as if these are competing priorities. As if business strategy and business results has to compete with employee engagement and in team engagement. When really they don't have to compete and in fact they should be bolstering each other.
As we achieve results from being a part of a successful team, hopefully we're more engaged, and we're more empowered, and we want to do that again. Similarly, I've seen this breakdown happened between operation and sales. Again, it's not because any one of these teams are trying to do something wrong or incorrectly, it's because we have different goals.
On the operational side, we might say our goals are really around inventory costs. Whereas on the sales side or the marketing side, we really say, "Our goals are around customer experience," and that disconnect often means that these teams aren't aligned. It slows them down when they have to work together, it creates those areas of friction where there doesn't need to be.
Really ultimately what means is our team members start to lose enthusiasm and they feel bogged down. We've all been in those meetings where we feel like it's not progressing or we're not moving forward and that's where we start to lose steam as an organization. What we try to do is really work with organizations to remove these friction points and make that experience a little bit better for all of our team members. So we really can move quickly, deliver this great value to all of our customers, and ultimately share in a success that we're all kind of bringing to life together.
Yeah. I find that to be core to everything we do here. I mean, it's interesting to hear that's the inspiration at the core of finding the company. Things evolve over time and I want to understand how did this idea evolve for you?
Tracy Eames: Yeah, actually the idea of evolved for me really coming from where I was working. Most of my career has been spent in sales and marketing, innovation. So really on the commercial side of the business where the customer is our focus and where we really are kind of focused on the commercial, external communications of the business.
When we started Teames and Co, we really were focused on leveraging our experience to help organizations understand who their customer was, build personas, map out the right roles within their commercial teams to make sure that they were executing on delivering value for those customers. We developed role competencies and really making sure that we were giving team members a clear perspective on what they were responsible for, what that meant when they were working with other teams, cross-functional processes and making sure those aligned across the organization. Really making sure that the entire organization understood who the customer was and had their goals aligned to that as well.
We were kind of starting from the commercial side of the business and as much as possible spreading that to the full organization, but really when we were thinking about Teames and Co, we were thinking about it more from an interim CMO or fractional leadership kind of model. Where we were building out the commercial side and then transitioning to help them build that leadership within the organization.
I think ultimately this evolved into much broader work because what we've saw before we founded Teames and Co, and what we still continue to see is it's really important to break down these barriers and align our goals and our strategy across our teams.
One example of kind of broader work in terms of helping organizations expand their results is really working a lot on these cross functional projects. Our role there is really helping client teams break down silos to help their teams excel together. We start off our engagements really understanding maybe where they're seeing these friction points, we do a lot of discovery with them and team interviews and individual interviews to really map out where we think those opportunities are, but the scope here is expanding.
While our approach remains the same, we expand the scope to be able to build that common understanding of the customer, making sure we're aligning the strategy and the team goal across all of our goals, making sure all teams several competencies, making sure they all have individual development plans for their team members, and making sure ultimately we're building a line of sight for each person in each team so that they can see how their effort every day, not only supports that overall strategy, but also supports delivering that exceptional value and that customer experience each day to the core customer.
Luis Wilson: Thank you Tracy. I understand our team's approach to be very comprehensive. It's really interesting to hear how it came from really a commercial focus and now has expanded to this broader scope and has evolved to what Teames and Co is today.
Just so I'm understanding and our listeners understand, could you talk about what has remained constant in this journey for Teames and Co?
Tracy Eames: Yeah, of course. I think while projects come in all shapes and sizes, really the reason that we shifted and evolved into a broader scope was because it's necessary. I think the first step that we always try to take with our clients is really to learn as much from them as we can. So really involving them and their teams in the discussions, they'll help us uncover and confirm areas of the greatest opportunity.
It's pretty common for folks to think that one area is really where their biggest challenges and after you kind of dive into the discussions and you do work sessions together, you actually uncover two or three steps down the line where there's something actually different that really needs to be updated or fixed amongst the team processes to really help drive those results.
That approach has really remained consistent. It's just as we've kind of worked longer with our clients, we understand the opportunity to really create that shared experience across the organization and making sure that we're really uncovering the greatest opportunity for them as they work to align their strategy, again, their customer experience and their organizational design.
A lot of the pieces and parts stay the same, but it's really important to expand that as far as you can across the organization to build that greater level of alignment.
Luis Wilson: I see. Well, thank you for sharing the inspiration and all the changes and evolutions that we've been through to take us to where we are today. I think we should take a pause and tell our listeners a little bit about our name as well and how we spell teams here.
Tracy Eames: Yeah, it's a question we get really often. Honestly, when I was a founding Teames and Co, it was really hard for me to figure out what to name of the company, but I knew I wanted to focus on teams. I really feel passionately that the team is the unit that's often forgotten. I'll use the analogy of a sports team. If you have five guards on a basketball team, you might all be engaged, you might all love basketball, but you're probably not going to be as successful as a team that has a small forward, and a large forward, and a center, and a shooting guard, and a point guard.
It's important that we all in our organizations build teams that have different competencies, and different skillsets, and are really empowered to work together. Again, using the basketball team as an analogy, if you had a team where nobody passed the ball to each other, it'd be really hard to be successful and another team would probably win the game.
Being somebody who's been a part of a team for as long as I can remember, whether it was my original team of kind of my siblings or teams on the sports field, I really, really value that camaraderie and really value the expanded results that you can have when you're working with other people. We can all have an individual impact, but how that individual impact can be exponentially grown when you're working with other folks is amazing and it's really exciting.
Anyway, thinking back to kind of my experience of being part of a team. I think all of us who have been a part of a team can resonate with the fact that when you're part of a team you tend to get a nickname. That comes with being a part of a team and I've had lots of nicknames on different sports teams that I've been a part of, but actually one of my first work teams I was a part of, my email exchange was my first initial and last name. It said Teames@company name.
When I was thinking about naming the company, I just thought that was a really apropos way to name the company to really, again, get back to the focus of team and also kind of tell you in my own personal experience with the organization.
Luis Wilson: That's awesome. I should take this opportunity for a shameless plug and let our listeners know that if they do want to learn a little bit about the latest thinking on building Teames, our website URL is spelled T-E-A-M-E-S A-N-D C-O. So teamesandco.com, so thank you for that.
We've talked about the inspiration for the firm, where we are today, and I want to kind of look a little further ahead and ask you, where do you see the firm evolving to in the future?
Tracy Eames: Yeah, of course. I mean, I have really enjoyed being a part of the Teames and Co team, and I think that there's a lot of head and one of the things that we try to do and, and by no means are we always perfect, but what we really try to practice what we preach. A big part of that is adjusting our services and our offering to meet and exceed the needs of our clients.
To this end, obviously right now, we're building out greater capability within our team to work with our clients who were virtual or who have changed their work dynamic in some ways. Sometimes their full team is virtual. Sometimes some of their team is virtual and some of it is socially distanced in the office, but we're really trying to kind of meet them where they're at and help understand how we can support them and their teams with more digital tools or more virtual communications.
In this, one of the really big shifts what we're working on is on demand content. As we've mentioned, we're really focused on working with organizations to take a holistic view about how all the pieces fit together. We also understand, and we've heard feedback and we've heard the many requests from probably some of our listeners today, but a lot of others that were facing new challenges and we're preparing for new opportunities.
With that, they would like an opportunity to have more ad hoc resources that they can plug into when they have time or when they have availability. To this end, what we're working on right now, and I'll let you talk a little bit about it because I know it's actually one of your really big initiatives is how we're working on training and offering opportunities.
Whether it's strategic leadership because somebody's looking for their next new career opportunity and they want to understand how they can move from an individual contributor into a team leader, or maybe they're a manager and they're looking for more tips and more advice on how to lead a virtual team and manage change when the landscape is changing so quickly.
Again, while we'll have these individual offerings, we're really hoping to kind of build a portfolio so that way we can stay true to the Teames and Co approach, which is really providing that holistic view. Again, people can kind of access it in bite size amounts or different courses and really hopefully help them find the strategy, the customer experience, the organizational design together, but just do it in smaller pieces. So that way they can use it around their schedules and adjust to their needs.
Luis Wilson: Yeah. Thank you Tracy. I know personally I've been involved in some of the efforts to launch some of our new digital offerings and we're working on a full suite of offerings. I know this is a little bit of a change for us. We're used to working with clients on a full engagement and really taking a comprehensive look to deliver the most value that we can for our clients. We really are adjusting here to meet folks where they're at currently given the new digital demands that they have to lead their teams and providing them some of the courses that we think are the most relevant right now.
Tracy Eames: Awesome. I know Luis, I know you've been fantastic and you've actually been doing a ton of interviews with clients, and prospective clients, and just people from our network. Maybe you could share a little bit, obviously we can't share names and details, but maybe you could give our listeners or perspective at a very, very high level of some of the themes that you're hearing and some of the things that people and leaders today are looking for in terms of additional support.
Luis Wilson: Really I've learned that there is the same challenges we were working on before are still there and youth leadership challenges are propping up as well. Just really looking to deliver tailored courses for that and tailored solutions for our clients and meeting them like I said before in a digital mode where they can access us anytime on demand.
Tracy Eames: Awesome. Yeah, no, it's really exciting. I think one of the things that's exciting for me is really being able to help leaders individually as well. We recognized and we love working with clients on an organizational level, but kind of hearing your feedback, one of the things that's coming through loud and clear for me is leaders are looking for ways to kind of take the onus themselves and build their repertoire of skills and how do they kind of build these skills within their role.
Maybe later on the whole organization kind of wants to adopt it, but it sounds like to me, and again, I would love to hear your perspective. It's really exciting for me to think about from a Teames and Co perspective that we can start to interface with leaders on a whole new level and help them kind of develop themselves within their role and develop themselves as leaders. Hopefully that's a cascading effect for the organization.
Luis Wilson: Absolutely. I know that's a new approach for us focusing on helping and advising an individual leader, but what we're really focusing on is helping them out in the critical moments in transitions for them. This, for example, could be our first time leader toolkit, where we help out those folks that are making the transition from an individual contributor to a leader and what those challenges bring. So give them some tools to be able to handle that.
Perhaps somebody a little bit more senior that's making the shift from delivering operational excellence to now having to be a strategic leader and roll up their sleeves and perhaps work a strategic plan and begin thinking more strategically. Really delivering targeted relevant content for those folks when they're making these transitions in their career is one of the ways that we're finding we can add most value to advising individuals.
Tracy Eames: Yeah, I think that's critically important. As I work with leaders, even in organizations when we're doing projects, I think one of the things, again, that leaders struggle with is a common story I hear, and I've lived this myself as a senior leader in my previous work when I was part of corporate life.
As a senior leader, you're part of a numerous number of meetings a day. You might be in meetings even seven or eight hours a day, and then you also are leading a team. It's a big struggle for your time where you're trying to kind of work on the strategy piece, you're also trying to develop your team and make sure your team has what they need, and without a game plan and a roadmap for how do you cascade that information, inform your team, create guardrails for them so they know if they can't get ahold of you immediately, what can they be working on? It really becomes a lot of tension points build.
I think it's really exciting because if we can start to help leaders with that toolkit and kind of be more successful when they're facing those different challenges, I think it'll be really exciting for a lot of people and I'm really looking forward to it. Appreciate your work on it and really appreciate all the feedback we've gotten from our community in terms of sharing their insights and sharing their feedback on what would be most relevant.
Luis Wilson: Thank you Tracy. I'm very excited as well about it and I'd be remiss if I don't thank the rest of the team here at Teames and Co and for all their great work they do to launch our products as well. Just a big thank you to everybody and the team and we're very excited for the future.
Tracy Eames: Yeah, I think that's really great and I think one of the other things I want to tease here and this is still going to be not only inviting guests to our podcast to share their stories, but also we'll be sharing them through our blog and hopefully more formal channels as we launch. To really again, provide our audience with a lot of tools that not only come from a perspective of the expertise that we can offer, but what can other organizations that we really think highly of help organizations with as well.
We'll try to bring those to life and share those. So again, listeners here will have a lot of different perspectives and hopefully be able to tie all of those things together to really drive the success of their organization.
Luis Wilson: Thank you Tracy. I'm excited about the number of different ways that we're delivering this content to the folks that it's most relevant for and also excited for what you mentioned. The blog, this podcast, and different ways for folks to reach our content and perhaps for smaller organizations where they may not be ready for a full engagement right?
Tracy Eames: Yeah, no, of course me too. I think it's really important for us to be able to share relevant content as broadly as possible. Even if there's an opportunity for us to just have a quick discussion with somebody, we understand things are changing really quickly. One of the things that we've started to offer in the last six months is a free consultation.
If organizations have a question and they're not sure if it's something that could become a full engagement or not, you can go to our website, you can schedule a half hour consultation with us, it's free of charge and it just lets you assess what maybe potentially could be the next steps?
There's no pressure. There's no formal commitment with the consultation. We just want to make sure that we're being open to our community and offering time where we can answer any questions that you might have.
Luis Wilson: Thank you Tracy. Thank you for your time today.
Tracy Eames: Thank you. Really appreciate it and looking forward to next week.
Luis Wilson: Great, see you next week.