Over the last couple of years I've been fortunate to work with a number of people who have a unique point of view about business ownership.
From time to time I'm going to ask some of them to contribute to this blog.
The first of those is Jon Collins - President of Framestore, New York, one of the world's leading film and commercial special effects companies. Click their link. Their work is astounding.
Jon has worked for Framestore since 1996, starting in their London office before moving to New York in January 2004 to launch Framestore in the US.
The company has gone from strength to strength in the US under his leadership, and Jon's down to earth and sensitive approach has allowed this powerful UK brand to establish itself in its own right in the American market. Cultural transitions are the hardest for an established company to navigate. Jon has made Framestore's look effortless. I hope you enjoy his post.
I know that I may not be entirely the same as many of Charles' readers: for a start, there are times when even I am amazed that I am running VFX/CGi company in NYC. And then there are other times when I think that - after being Everton's centre forward or one of the Beatles - this is what I was born to do. I have times of great clarity and times of navel gazing.
I never intended being a 'businessman' - I was always more interested in creating something. I think what I have now created is a team. And running the business then makes sense if I apply it to what I know about football (English football, but I guess most if not all team sports work for this metaphor). I have built a team of people looking for certain skills in certain areas and selecting them so that they will work well together. I motivate them and train them and finally I create an environment in which they can perform to their best ability.
You get the picture.
All this was making sense to me until quite recently. As a team we have been used to competing with the very best both nationally and internationally. We may not win everything but we are focussed and we don't dwell on victories or defeat but we assess what can be improved and we look to the next 'match'.
The only problem is that instead of competing in the Premier League, we now have combined all the leagues into one. One week we may be competing against Real Madrid but the next we are playing against Doncaster. Okay...we should be able to adapt to that. It's not always easy to play attractive football on a muddy pitch but, like I say, we have some very talented people and we should be able to adapt.
Yes, but what do you do when you are not getting the money from huge crowds every week and the gate receipts are non-existent every few weeks? Well, you can send out a few less players and get them to work a lot harder covering the vacant positions. They should be fit enough...we've trained them well.
But what happens when they take away the ball?
Well I guess it stops being football and we have to invent our own new sport. I have a sentimentality borne out of nostalgia for the old game….but the old game doesn’t work without the ball. What I am trying to focus on as the coach is coming up with new rules so that my team can play a new, exciting game competing against the best. A game full of challenges and clear goals.
I haven’t worked out the rules yet but when I do I hope that we meet on the new playing field.