Saturday, March 26, 2011
The Extra A Team
Don't touch my red stapler
At one point upon the long and winding road of my professional life, I had a daily call with a customer that was in England. For us, it was the eight o’clock call; they called it the four o’clock call. The call was instituted because our cross communication was leading to confusion regarding schedules and priorities.
On their end they would funnel and prioritize all of their needs and then relate them to us in the call. We worked off of an agenda that was sent just before the call. When one of their senior managers was out of the office, they would have someone stand in. We did the same. The calls usually had two or three on our end and three to six on their side.
At one point all of their senior guys were out and we were talking to the “stand ins.” To be perfectly honest these were the hard working guys who actually did the work, and we probably preferred these guys anyway.
In an attempt and cross cultural humor, and to try and praise the guys on the other end, we began referring to them as “The A team.” We did this both on and off the call and it seemed to be just fine.
We later came to find out that in England, there is the Varsity and the A Team. The US equivalent is the Junior Varsity. One step below the A Team is the Extra A Team.
Upon discovering our mistake we apologized and sought to mend international relations,
This has been on my mind this week.