Stepping Back to Step Forward: LeagueApps OTAs
Twice a year, we step back from our daily operations to gather as a team, discuss how we can improve as a company, and plan for the future. Oh, and have a lot of fun in the process.
What are OTAs?
You may have heard the term “OTAs” used in reference to NFL preseason activities, where teams hold “Organized Team Activities” to prepare for the season. We’ve appropriated the term here at LeagueApps to describe our team meetings – our OTAs are all about creating a team that works hard, learns from our past experiences, become smarter, and get results.
A core LeagueApps value is being a “Student of the Game.” As a company, and individually, we each strive to constantly be learning and improving. At the OTAs, each team member presented on the ways in which he or she will personally strive to improve over the next six months. These presentations were not merely ideals, but rather specific gameplans for personal growth and improvement, including explicit ways by which the team could support each other’s objectives.
Another key value is being a “Difference Maker” – as a company in the communities that we operate, through our work with our customers and by extension their participants and families, and individually within LeagueApps. We used the OTAs to recognize those on our team who go above and beyond and experience success in new endeavors in order to learn from their achievements. Different members of the team were invited to give Difference Maker presentations, where those who had made an especially large contribution in shaping company culture and strategy could present their projects to the group.
In addition to internal presentations, the OTAs also included outside speakers such as Lawrence Cann of Street Soccer USA, Tom Farrey of the Aspen Institute’s Project Play Initiative and author of Game On, and Adam Seifer, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Everplans.
The team was inspired by the passion and story of Lawrence Cann, who started the Street Soccer organization to create a platform where sports could be vehicle to transfer skills and create opportunities for at-risk youth and at-risk populations like the homeless. We learned how Street Soccer not only runs soccer programs for its program participants, but also operates leagues and tournaments to raise funds to underwrite their programs. LeagueApps is proud to call Street Soccer a partner.
Tom Farrey joined the team for an engaging discussion on the future of youth sports, and the role that LeagueApps could play in facilitating greater participation. We’ve highlighted many of the key points in a recent blog post.
Lastly, Adam Seifer shared his entrepreneurial journey – and the lesssons he learned in building companies like sixdegrees and fotolog and being at the forefront of innovation around social networking and digital media. He also happens to be a sports enthusiast, participant and sports parent, and the conversation led to a discussion of how the sports experience will be impacted by technology.
It wasn’t all about sitting around a conference table. We are, after all, a sports company. We spent the better part of the afternoon down at the amazing facilities of Basketball City, taking in the USA-Belgium soccer match (and marveling at Tim Howard’s heroics) followed by a series of basketball games and 5-on-5 action. With the addition of some new team members, we are ready for all comers, so let us know if you want to schedule a game.
However, perhaps the most influential presentation was not a presentation at all, but rather a team wide discussion of where we can improve as a company.
We called it our Plus/Delta (+/∆) session, after a management tool we used to highlight what we are doing well, and what we can do better.
You can read more about the management tool of plus/delta here.
We take pride that as much as we enjoy celebrating our successes, we take even more pleasure honestly discussing where we can get better. We are guided by the vision of not just being best – but being the best at getting better. Every day.
We know our partners are an important part of this conversation, so let us know how we can get better in serving you and the communities in which you operate.