What Really Determines the Strength of a Team?

By Derek Vannice, President and COO

There are a lot of great sports analogies out there when we want to talk about a specific team. The ones I have always found useful are how a team reacts to winning and losing. Specifically, it is easy for everyone to be a team player when the team is winning on a consistent basis. When a team starts losing, it is easy to start blaming everyone else and not be supportive.

At CNUC, after a challenging start as a company, we have been fortunate to have some very successful years of growth. We were also getting some great feedback from our clients. As we continued to grow, we went through some major changes on our management team. I believe we now have the team in place that will make CNUC successful for many years to come.

All that said, 2017 was a very challenging year. We had very aggressive growth goals and everything was aligning for those goals to become reality. Unfortunately, as it happens in the world of contracting, outside forces (through no fault of our own) eliminated some of those opportunities. Going back to the sports analogy, some teams would have begun to place blame and their weaknesses would have been magnified.

A strong team shows resilience in the face of adversity. That was the case with the CNUC team. Instead of casting blame, the CNUC team was supportive and focused on continual improvement. We began asking questions and looking at ways to improve our processes. We focused on continuing to build our relationships with our existing clients and exceeding our client’s expectations. We looked at ways where we could grow and provide opportunities for our employees. We also followed up with potential clients where we had started to establish long-term relationships.

Most importantly, we looked in the mirror and talked about how we can improve our internal practices. We reviewed and improved many of our processes including training and safety for our employees. One example is tracking our time to hire and finding ways to reduce the number of days it takes to get a new consulting utility forester in the field.

All of our efforts are beginning to yield results and that is an article for the future. Look at your team and determine how the team responds to adversity. In this case, the CNUC management team came together, asked the hard questions, and as a result, a stronger and more cohesive team was created that will assure long-term success for the company.