A Mothers’ Approach to Building An Orientation Team. Part 1

When I was a boy, I always thought of my mom as being a very hard worker. As I got older, I started to put three things together – what I learned as a boy, what I learned about people and what I know about my own professional position. My mother worked long hours sewing blouses in a garment mill. I can remember the noise in that place, the humming, the droning and I can still see my mom with her head down pushing blouses through the machine. Today, that job would be considered tedious and monotonous. In fact most would never entertain that kind of work environment. Every day, for 20 years, she had to sustain her momentum. Think about it, for 20 years she worked like that; every day, momentum was necessary to continue her monotonous job. A person in that work environment has to have incredible momentum just to overcome the boredom and the tediousness of the job.

People like my mom have creative imaginations. They had to remove themselves mentally from the drone of the job. I could remember my mom being a woman who always had options. Whenever there was a crisis, no matter what the situation, it was my mother, the seamstress, who had options. I remember her having more options than some professional people because her life was built on sustaining and creating momentum. She had to have options to take herself out of the tediousness of the job. Here is a woman who lost her mother at age twelve, and was told by her father to quit high school and stay home to raise her younger brother and sister. Therefore, forget business, forget what your mentors are going to tell you, think like Mom and the momentum of the blue collar worker. They teach lessons of sustained momentum and energy systems that must operate daily. We have a great deal to learn from them. Often they can be more creative than any business executive.

By far, the truest form of momentum is a mother’s MOMentum. 

An extremely important concept is the orientation team. Without creating an orientation team you, as a leader, will have difficulty handling all your responsibilities.

You want to build an orientation team around yourself. One that is different from a personal Board of Directors, or traditional management teams. This is a team that understands the corporate goals and can maneuver in negotiations, proposals, new ventures and opportunities. In its purest form, the orientation team can visit a third party and profile your organization into an understandable and attractive package. They will have a common focus, culture, mission and delivery.

The best way to mentor colleagues is to instill a feeling of confidence in the group that they have a primary focus to their own area of expertise. Later, you can train them to take on more and more responsibilities. Suppose we have an orientation team of four people with one representing finance, marketing, operations and customer service.

Each speaks about his own area of expertise to a potential client. In large meetings they gain confidence and support from the team. Eventually, the team may split to handle more volume, with team members handling more than one function. In the future, team members will duplicate themselves and the organization creates a system that will improve throughout time. No matter how long people work together, they rarely have the same mission or the same purpose. However, an orientation team will learn to think as one unit, will learn to move in unison and will anticipate each other’s thoughts. You want to create a concurrent mission and purpose. There are covert activities which the orientation team will need to conduct. These covert activities include that they act like an intelligence unit; they move on a mission. As a leader, the ability to gather intelligence is essential and real. What an orientation team can do for you is build momentum. I often think back to my mother, the leader of my first orientation team.


Author: Creating Six Degrees

Anthony C. Gruppo, CEO Northeast Region, is responsible for leading all employees, divisions, and operations for Marsh & McLennan Agency – Northeast. Here he is focused on leadership, strategic position, and organizational development. Prior to coming to the Northeast, Anthony led companies in the Southwest, Southeast, and West Coast. Anthony is the author of three books centered on personal and organizational development.

9 thoughts on “A Mothers’ Approach to Building An Orientation Team. Part 1”

  1. This is so very true, when I look back over the years my success has been the result of building a strong team of people around me with diverse skillsets and allowing each person to take ownership but always being there to support each other, like a Mom we need to allow children to find themselves and grow but support them when they fall.

  2. Never much of a huge fan of colored collars. I’m more of a crew neck person myself in lots of bright colors. Today as I commuted to the office, I thanked every person I saw outside shoveling snow. I can’t even imagining having to shovel at work and home as they had to dig out to even get to their jobs. So many great service workers are our unsung heroes. I remember when Bryant Gumbel left the Today Show and someone asked him, would he miss getting up in the morning at 4 am to go to work. His reply “A lot of people get up at that hour for a lot less.” I remember those people when I’m belly aching about something inconvenient vs. a problem.

    This is a beautiful tribute to your Mom. Thank you for sharing her with the world.

  3. My Mom went to work after loosing my Dad from lung cancer in 1959. Five children including a 2 month old infant. Put us all through Catholic school. Lived until she was 88. She was my mentor my best friend. Mom taught me to be ethical and be responsible. I Called out sick 4 times in 20 years 🙂 Mom was my Rock.

  4. Many mothers are indeed the best models and creative solution seekers who invariably get it right but are often not adequately credited. Thanks for the reminder and the orientation team concept. When big enough…………..

  5. A gorgeous acknowledgment to your mom! It brought probably to most of us memories of our own mothers who were definitely our models and we never publicly praised them. Thank you for sharing your lovely story with us, I sure enjoyed reading your mom’s life, and also for reminding us of the orientation team!

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