If you have ever worked in a busy office you know that eventually, you learn to tune out the noise. You adapt by developing a laser focus on your own tasks at hand with the goal of getting your work done as quickly and painlessly as possible. You cringe at the thought of having to review your work with someone else along the way because that takes you out of your zone and just slows you down.
Working completely on your own in a marketing agency, while seemingly efficient, is not entirely effective. Clients suffer when they're only receiving one person's point of view in the final product. Agencies exist as a place to assemble an array of talent in one place to work together toward the best solution for customers.
The same is true for most organizations. So what can leaders do to encourage their employees to seek out the input of others rather than rushing headlong from point A to point B?
1) Plan Your Collaboration
Schedule regular meetings where your creative team has a chance to showcase their work. A busy office with many projects happening simultaneously leaves little time to share your outcomes with the full team. Use your monthly business meeting to share what you have done with the entire group and invite conversation around the work.
2) Lead by Example
If you are in charge of anything or everything, use your position to demonstrate collaborative behaviors. Walk the floor and interact with your team in a productive way. Ask for input, ideas, suggestions and provide feedback as appropriate. Praise for great work out in the open is a great way to encourage others to share and engage.
3) Encourage Teamwork
Use questions that come your way as an opportunity to suggest that your team find the answers by talking to each other. Make the environment open and flexible enough that staff members have easy access to each other without barriers to ask for help. Don't be the only "go to" answer person in the office, redirect in a way that encourages others to interact and rely upon each other.
4) Provide a Venue
Plan mini-training sessions for the team with an agenda driven by them and delivery of the training content coming from them. Allow your staff to demonstrate their areas of expertise and share in a somewhat structured environment. This will identify particular staff members as subject matter experts in certain areas. When questions come up on that subject, the team will be more likely to engage that person for help. This will provide a whole new level of development opportunities for your staff as they prepare and deliver the training.
5) Carve Out Time for Fun
Embrace the power of play and relaxation and give everyone around you permission to do the same. Friday afternoon casual gatherings in the office are a great way to have a planned time when everyone is encouraged to walk away from the work and get to know each other. Keep in mind, absent participation by the leaders in your company, this approach will fail. Remember #2: lead by example.
If you are looking for a marketing agency, make sure they have tools for internal collaboration and then check out this post for more great tips on working with your marketing partner. At Element Three, all of these strategies are in play in our office, so we know that they work. Give them a try and let us know how it goes.