*OK, the term “rules” may not be quite right. More guidelines, really. And these are going to change. We’ve been around for over 25 years, which—if you know anything about this industry—is an eternity. We’ve seen trends come and go. New technologies continue to sprout and new vocabularies are still emerging. It’s been an interesting ride, no question about it. And we’re just hitting our stride. You see, we have our sights set high, and we’re aiming for greatness. There is absolutely no reason we can’t achieve it. The ideas that follow will get us there faster.
There is not a single system, process or approach here that is sacred.
Sure, there are things we have done repeatedly that work well, but nothing should ever be considered final. Try new things. Experiment with beta software. Mix up your work flow. The single most important question you should ask yourself as you walk out the doors here, is: Did I do something different to make an impact today? It’s easy to get caught up in the urgent—there will always be rush projects, demanding clients, and stubborn printers, but if you don’t carve the time to try new things, you are missing huge opportunities.
Our creative time here is everything, and we must protect it.
Take meetings for example—we have lots of ‘em here. That’s not necessarily a good thing, since meetings aren’t synonymous with progress. Our writers want to write. Our developers want to code. Basically, we all want to create. So when we are talking in a room, we are not necessarily moving our clients forward. Sure, there are times when meetings are necessary, but think twice about scheduling them. Do they have to be an hour? Can it be handled by a five-minute conversation instead? Any meeting will expand to fill the time allotted. So, try scheduling a 17-minute meeting. Or a 6-minute meeting. You’ll be surprised by how much faster you can get to the point, and stay on track.
We are all responsible for the appearance and upkeep of this place.
And keeping this place clean is actually a really big deal. It’s not just about aesthetics. Studies have shown that people are happier, more engaged, and more productive when they are in well-maintained environments. We shouldn’t need to send out emails prior to client visits asking to get our space organized. It sends all the wrong signals. So, keep things neat. Do the dishes. When you walk out of a conference room, tuck in the chairs. Remove any trash, even if you were not the one who left it. Make the place better for the next group who is coming in. Chances are nobody will thank you. Do it anyway.
Greatness isn’t something that’s handed out. If we want it badly enough, we have to achieve it together. In order to do that, we must all take responsibility for the future of this agency and learn to lead by example. Evaluate all the ways in which you operate, and think about how to improve. Take really good notes. Master your software. Learn keyboard shortcuts. Teach everyone around you. Be confident about your ideas, and humble about your shortcomings. Don’t worry about who gets the credit. In the end, greatness will rest evenly on all of our shoulders.