Hooray for the Underdog!

March 28, 2017

Yes, it is time for March Madness, the NCAA men’s basketball championship. Where a lot of individuals have teams on the sidelines (mine being LaSalle) or those that go out in the first or second rounds. Who do we root for next? The champion of the conference of our own team? A sentimental favorite or a relative’s alma mater? Of course, not! We are Americans, we love to root for the underdogs, teams without a superstar but play as a Team. Teams that are overlooked by a larger, dominant school, who will look past them to their next victory, only to be surprised by the underdog!

But what happens when the underdog becomes the larger foe? What are their challenges? A band of revolutionary farmers taking on the Great British empire to become a world super power in just two centuries. Are we seeing those challenges today as our recent handling of global events have some of our fellow citizens questioning our effectiveness? How do we relate this to our day to day business world?

Our company was started by a single individual in 1964. I joined in 1983, there were six of us We considered ourselves the underdog in all our business transactions. Now at 56 employees and growing, how do we define our position? Are we still considered an underdog?

Being the dominant foe or being the underdog brings different game plans in athletics and in business. Currently, and in the future, we at Sea-Land must continue to ask ourselves some serious questions:

– How do we handle “being too big to be small and too small to be big”?
– When do different types of employee regulations start to affect us?
– What is the market space we occupy?
– What are the size and competencies of our competition?
– When do we find different methods of improving our skills as the demands change and we grow?

Questions often lead to more questions, not always more answers. I am lucky to work with a great group of individuals. Many of these questions were from the past and some answers were found, however, many are remaining with new ones forming.

As we all go down this path of growth, be it personal, as a nation or a business, cheer for the underdog but also keep a watchful eye for one day you will be in their sights.

All the best,

Joe Clayton