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Being on a Winning Team

Football season is here, and as an avid Kansas City Chiefs fan, I’ve been enjoying every second of this winning season. You can feel it out at Arrowhead, and there’s a buzz across the city that can be felt beyond Red Friday (I’m not going to let the Steelers game bring me down). Adding to that buzz is Sporting KC clinching their seventh straight playoff appearance as they celebrate the anniversary of their first MLS Cup Championship back in 2000. Both teams have gone through their ups and their downs over the years, but with both firing on all cylinders these past few weeks, it begs the question, “What are they doing differently?”

As a soccer coach for more than 25 years, my mind immediately goes to strategy: how players are being used and if they’re in the right position; what preparation looks like; what adjustments have been made on and off the field. Behind the scenes coaches learn what went well and what they can do better. They ask questions and engage in a dialogue to understand perspective; they make resources available to train and improve performance. Some coaches have more of a command-and-control approach, telling players what they need to do. Others are better at engaging the players in a dialogue to understand what drives them.

As a sales and development professional for more than 25 years, I’ve found that so many of the coach and player relationships I’ve built aren’t all that different from the relationships that managers and business leaders build with their professional teams. And what’s become even more evident is that the successes a company has in and out of the office depends not only on the leader’s ability to lead, but also finding the right players and putting them in the right position. Only then do you start gelling as a team and winning together.

Half-empty vs. half-full

Before I joined the AdamsGabbert (AG) team, I worked at another company where a few of us had an ongoing joke about our “family of 2,500.” Don’t get me wrong, I worked with great people, had great bosses and made lasting relationships that I’m very grateful for. But saying “a family of 2,500” is a little absurd.

The company was large but made room for only a small portion of my skillset and my potential to make a big impact. I felt limited on what I could accomplish and worked under managers who had a knack for telling me what to do and how to do it, instead of opening the lines of communication. What started out as a glass half-full of opportunity started looking more and more like a glass of half-empty promises and wasted potential.

I was looking for a company who was interested in putting people in the right roles for their skillset; a company who would find ways for people to support the greater good; a company who collaborates and brings a team together. That’s when I met AdamsGabbert.

A shift in paradigm

After the first conversation I had with Stacy, our COO, I knew immediately I wanted to be a part of AG. During that first meeting, she listened to me; she listened to the way I approach business and sales, and she listened to me talk (at some points even ramble J) about my passion for coaching and how I apply what I’ve learned as a coach to how I build relationships with clients and co-workers. In fact, only an hour after my first meeting with Stacy, I got a call asking if I could meet with Denise Kruse, CEO and owner of AG, that same day. My response was, “I’m on my way.” After those two meetings and conversations with Denise and Stacy, I knew I’d found a company who worked together as a team.

And that’s what I instill in my players that, first and foremost, we are a team. I teach them to be brave, creative leaders both on and off the field. I know the tactics; I know when adjustments need to be made; I know what I do well and what I can do better. These are the skills I’ve always been capable of, but I haven’t worked for the kind of companies who encouraged utilizing them.

Denise and Stacy lead a family of employees who work together and support each person’s personal and professional goals every chance they get. They encourage all of us to be brave, creative leaders, giving us the resources and confidence to make the kind of impact we’re all capable of making.

That’s the power of a being part of a winning team.


Abby Parker is the client development director for AdamsGabbert (AG), a catalyst for growth, a spark for innovation, and a facilitator of progress. Founded in 1999 and based in Overland Park, Kan., AG focuses on staffing + recruiting, technology services, and consulting—all designed to make business better for their clients. Share your thoughts on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter!