Andrew Page keenly understands the value of teamwork. In fact, the vice president and corporate controller for Under Armour sees it every day, in the athletes wearing the company’s gear, in his coworkers attempting to drive towards organizational goals, and in the high school students he coaches in track. And, perhaps more importantly, he knows that all teamwork comes from understanding individuals.
“I’ve learned in my professional career that it is essential to really understand the personal drivers of each of the members on my team,” Page says. “To optimize each person’s output, you really need to understand what makes them smile—what makes them tick. You try to create an environment that promotes those things that make people happy.”
Of course, any good coach knows that listening can be as influential as dictating, and that the personal touch can make a big difference in the professional. Page stresses that merely saying good morning or asking about an employee’s child’s soccer game can lead to greater business results because everyone is happy to be there. As an example, he cites legendary New England Patriots football coach Bill Belichick. “He has gotten the best out of each one of his players and gets every personality type to play on a winning team, hear one voice, and have a singular goal,” Page says.
In addition, he cites his auditing professor, Dr. Jack Dyer; provost Janna Vice; and mentors from his time at GE as examples of coaching that led to the successful philosophy he now tries to practice in his leadership style. “It’s really important for me to align on goals with my team,” Page explains. “You ensure that your team feels like they are a part of the goal setting and a part of the alignment, to confer with them. You make sure that you acknowledge good work when you see it, acknowledge out-of-the-box thinking, and acknowledge when a person goes above and beyond expectations. Then they feel they’re tracking toward the ultimate goal, and they also see that you are aware, understanding, and appreciative of the micro goals that happen along the way.”
Another source of inspiration for his leadership style at Under Armour comes from a perhaps less likely place: his high school alma mater. Page earned a track scholarship to Eastern Kentucky University, unlocking opportunities and the doors to his professional career as an accountant. As such, he has returned to his school to give back and help create opportunity for others to do the same, working shoulder-to-shoulder with his own former high school track coach.
“I find myself using a lot of my track coach techniques at work, more than I find myself using my professional work style when I’m coaching the kids,” Page says, laughing. “When I go to track practice highly motivated, it gets the kids energized to practice hard. So I try to come into the office highly motivated as well, so it’s easy for my teammates to feel the energy and use it for themselves and push it to the rest of their teams.”