Great Workspace Cowboys Know the Trail and Their Fellow Riders

by Elizabeth Dukes on June 30, 2015

When it was time for the cowboys of the Old West to saddle up and ride, they would first have a round up. The round up served as a chance to make sure everyone was on the same page regarding the mission or objective, and to make sure everyone would at least be acquainted before they hit the trail. After all, cowboys counted on one another to have their backs in handling the herd, watching for wild animals, or fending off rustlers along the way. It was the trust they had in each other which strengthened the bonds between these individuals. This same level of trust and understanding is what makes the modern Workspace Cowboys strong, as well.

Know Your Team to Trust Your Team

Part of what made the cowboy bond so strong was the knowledge that other good cowboys would be there to handle any problem, at a moment’s notice. But, this didn’t happen automatically. Days on the trail and nights around the campfire inevitably led to sharing stories, which illustrated the measure of the man. The cowboys needed to know more than just the superficial nature of their colleagues. Modern business practices seem to echo these same sentiments.


More and more, employers and employees are finding ways to connect on more personal levels. These inroads lead to greater understanding of the type of people you work with or for, which can be highly effective in determining where an individual’s motivation may lie. “Employees who feel valued and appreciated by their leaders are infinitely more likely to go above and beyond for the company and hold themselves accountable for their part of a project.” John Hall, Contributor Forbes Magazine

Understand the Whole ProcessiStock_000038942342_Small

It was also critical for cowboys to know the trail they were driving and trust the company they were working for. These were difficult jobs and cowboys wanted to make sure they were respected, trusted, and compensated accordingly. Most cowboys rarely, if ever, came in direct contact with the bosses or owners of the herds. Therefore, a great deal of trust was bestowed on the trail bosses. As an FM, you are the modern day trail boss. Your workers and bosses look to you to get the job done, no matter the task being faced. Support of the team becomes paramount for success of the organization. Such success starts with communicating the goals and objectives to the team, ensuring the end of the trail is clearly defined and your team is aware of all the expectations you have for them. “An essential part of developing a powerful work team is assessing each employee’s contribution to the organization. What you expect from your employees and what you actually get can be worlds apart. How you blend the two is the basis for achieving a well-oiled, top-performing practice.” -Judy Capko


Communicate for Success

Although it may seem too simple or cliche, the power of successful communication cannot be overlooked. Cowboys on the trail had whistles, hand signals, and key phrases, which everyone knew, to help them navigate their day-to-day jobs. Communication with the team and organization, all the way up to the C-suite is more critical than ever. Fortunately, there are an abundance of tools for the modern workspace that allow fluid movement of information and ideas. This communication not only helps solve problems, but also continues to show the organization and individuals’ commitment to one another. An IWMS can inform employees of assets, space, maintenance, and other workers’ project status, all while allowing team members to remotely access said information at a moment’s notice; a win-win for all involved.

Without a doubt, cowboys of the Old West were linked to each other for the good of the entire organization. Often, their lives depended on this bond. Modern Workspace Cowboys will also find that connectivity and trust are still at the heart of a successful team. Know your team and their mission to get the results you really want.


Elizabeth Dukes

Elizabeth Dukes' pieces highlight the valuable role of the real estate and facility managers play in their organizations. Prior to iOFFICE, Elizabeth was in sales for large facility and office service outsourcing firm.

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