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In the Spirit of Team Work

24 Feb, 2012 By: Allan Erickson imageSource

In the Spirit of Teamwork

In the Spirit of TeamworkFirst, it’s no secret that much of American business has been floundering since 2007 when the recession took hold. And while the outlook is showing some slight improvement, projections indicate that we are far from a recovery given the unemployment rate, inflation and flat GDP growth. So knowing that makes this “sharing” all the sweeter…

Spirit of Teamwork

So how is it that a small office automation and business equipment company in northern California posted record growth in the last few years? And how was it there was such a spirit of joy and teamwork at a recent sales rally in Sacramento - even as other businesses flee California, given the difficult business environment created in recent years?

In part, the answer is good old fashioned hard work. This is coupled with a good, competitive spirit driven by a real focus on doing the right thing for the heart of a business - its customers.

Yet there is more to the story. Though I’d recently come on board at Ray Morgan Company as marketing coordinator, I soon realized my role went beyond the responsibility that makes this a dream position - it’s really about the company – whose “corporate culture” is led by the indomitable spirit of the people here.

At a recent planned team meeting, company Vice President, Tito Molfino, gave an especially poignant presentation at the kickoff. His topic was “going beyond what you think you are capable of accomplishing.” He urged people to have a “Bob Beamon” moment. For those unfamiliar with Beamon, he was a long jumper in the 1968 Olympics. He had never jumped more than 27 feet. The record at the time was held by his teammate, friend and coach, Ralph Boston, at 27 feet, 4.75 inches.

Keep in mind, most long jump records are broken by inches or fractions of an inch. (Take note: Boston was willing to help Beamon, and in doing so, put his friend’s interests above his own; a watch word at RMC, both in terms of customer service and colleague interaction.)

Long jump story short: Beamon jumped so far the electronic measuring system was incapable of recording it, so the old “tale of the tape” had to be employed. When it was announced that Beamon had set a new world record by jumping 29 feet 2.5 inches (breaking the record by almost two feet!) the crowd went wild. As did Beamon, feeling a rush of joy and adrenaline!

After Molfino’s presentation, people began sharing their “Beamon Moments” or the ones they’d witnessed in others. The inspirational point is: do more than you think you can, despite the adversity. It starts with a positive attitude. Because like Beamon, you can summon what it takes to radically exceed expectations. People – and good organizations – can both have their “moments.”

During our two-day kickoff there was lots of emotion displayed. People celebrated team victories, cheered individual accomplishments, suffered with those facing some adversity, all the while inspiring one another to do better. Ray Morgan Company is or like “family.”

Then and Now

It is important to realize that nine years ago, the RMC dealership operated in and around Chico, CA and was generating $9 million in annual revenue. Today, they operate 16 branches covering all of central and northern California, western Nevada, and southern Oregon. Currently, RMC generates approximately $50 million in annual revenue. Now that’s a Bob Beamon decade!

CEO Jim Scarff started with the company 43 years ago. At that time, the eight employees celebrated their first holiday around a table for lunch. Today, RMC employs more than 250 people in sales, service, administration, and information technology. The company is considered one of the premiere office technology companies in the country; and is one of the largest dealers of its kind west of the Mississippi, as well as one of the largest in the nation overall.

Notably, Scarff addressed 101 sales people at the kickoff last week, thanking his teams for another outstanding year. And in this economy, that is a feat. “I don’t know how you people do it. Last year you projected you could take us to $50 million, and you did! You are just the most outstanding group of people!” This is the kind of CEO who makes it a point to greet each employee by name. An individual who calls to encourage the wife of a technician who is recovering from a serious illness - or who 32 years ago, gave a college grad living in his van, a real opportunity - and today, Greg Martin is president of Ray Morgan Co.

Sure, hard work is great, but alone it’s not enough. Excellent products and services, and treating people respectfully are all tremendously important. Nothing makes an organization bring all those elements together with such power as the unapologetic declaration of love of what you do - and for whom- in the spirit of team work.

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