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HOW TO LOVE YOUR FELLOW DIGITAL AGENCY FOLK

At the beginning of the year, we all walked into the agency with a post-holiday glow (some of us looking fresher than others). Passing around the talking stick, we traded Yuletide tales and merry mishaps alike, each cheekily trying to outdo the other. But then it was back to business, back to the digital drawing board. Many sentences lead with ‘so this year the agency is going to THIS…’, ‘this year the agency is going to THAT’. Naturally, we wanted to set a positive, resolution-inspired tone. Ah, 2019, you (potential) beaut!

We’re well into 2019 and it’s time to find creative ways to action aforementioned agency resolutions. One of these resolutions, our favourite addition to agency culture, we called: Open Your Mind Grapes (not to be taken out of context).

#OYMG

Basically, #OYMG is a weekly workshop presented by members of the team. Everyone in the agency gets their turn to present just about anything they find thought-provoking, different, new, old, interesting, logical, creative. Some things we try to apply to the agency model, some things we want to aspire to. Other things we just want to talk about. But it’s been great brain-cercise (are we going to let that one slide?)

We kicked off #OYMG with a bite-sized presentation by a woman named Patty McCord, who is equal parts adorable and sage. Her 5-minute long presentation (seriously, do yourself a favour and click HERE to watch the video) is entitled: ‘8 Lessons on Building a Company People Enjoy Working For’.

These were wise ol’ Patty’s points, dramatically summarised:

  • Your employees are adults (well, this one’s debatable).
  • Management’s job isn’t to control, but to build great teams.
  • People want to get creative about doing meaningful things.
  • Everyone in the agency should understand the business.
  • Everyone in the agency should be able to handle the truth.
  • Does everyone (boss to intern) live out the agency values?
  • All startup ideas are stupid (another one not to be taken out of context).
  • Be excited for change.

We bounced around these ideas quite some and, while some were obvious, others were less so. Which of these points could we see ourselves absolutely nailing? Which of these points could we work on? And which of these points didn’t make creative sense?

‘Understanding the agency’ stood out. It’s a question we’ve been asking ourselves for a while. It’s the most important question a business can answer because it defines who you are and what you stand for. If every single person in the agency knows exactly what the agency does and WHY, then and only then do you know that you are moving in the same direction. Another standout was handling the truth. Feedback and reviews tend to happen once a year, and much of the time, the focus is on what can be improved. But why does ‘the truth’ have such a stigma? Instead of focusing on ‘this wrong, that wrong’, what would happen if we high-fived each other more, in real time? Positive reinforcement (in the moment) is necessary, and it’s powerful.

So ask yourself: Why WOULDN’T you want to enjoy the agency you are working for? Why wouldn’t you want to enjoy the fine folk you work alongside? Challenge your agency. Challenge your boss. Thank Patty. Get creative. And be excited for change.

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