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Three ingredients for a better team

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April 15, 2013 by smallarmyjeff

A few weeks ago, we held our quarterly Small Army company meeting during which we shared the “state of the agency,” acknowledged the team for their accomplishments, and discussed ways in which we can continue to improve (status quo is never good enough).  To prepare for the meeting, the leadership team thought about ways in which we can make the team stronger. As a result, we identified three new, yet simple, “job requirements” for every employee.  I am sharing these with you because they are not just applicable to Small Army, but relevant and valuable for any team:

 1.     Trust

Everyone at the agency (along with our clients and partners) contributes to the end product.  We provide individual expertise as well as a unique perspective based on our personal backgrounds and experiences (our “lens”).  We will succeed most when we learn to trust the instincts and actions of others, especially when their expertise and backgrounds are relevant to the process, discussion and/or ultimate decision/direction.  It’s OK to ask questions and offer alternative perspectives – that will help us all improve. But, we must also trust those around us.  Together, we are better than any individual.  That’s the beauty of a team.

 2.     Communicate

People work best when they understand why they are doing what they are doing.  Therefore, it is our responsibility to communicate with one another – we cannot just hand off work to others, or say “OK” when given a task.  Have a conversation and never accept “just because.”  Our EVP/Creative Director, Steve Kolander, encourages people to “talk it out.”  Sometimes it is hard for people to articulate why they like or dislike something.  But, when you talk it out, the “why” typically reveals itself and can be addressed much more effectively.

 3.     Inspire

Great work comes from great inspiration.  Even if you are not creative, you have the ability to inspire.  Recently, a few people on the team (account management and creative) met with customers of a particular client, and listened to stories of how the services that the client provided to them changed their lives.  Many of these stories brought us to tears, and gave us a new perspective on the magnitude of what this client does.  It is critical that those stories and emotions are not only communicated (see #2), but used to inspire everyone on the team.  When that happens, it shows in the work.

When each team member adds these tasks to their list of responsibilities, the entire team will be stronger and the work will be better.  So, whether you’re looking for a job at Small Army, or just seeking to make your team stronger, I’d suggest adding these to your job description as well.

Thanks for reading.  And, please comment or share other tips here. (Together, we can make this better.)

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