Know your role in getting everyone to get on together
When client budgets are cut, strategy consultancy teams always seem to be hit first, it is just the way it is. We accept it as a way of life and duck and weave accordingly. Or operate side businesses / moonlighting for other agencies ‘extra curricular’.
I know my role.
The good thing about strategists for account teams is that we are billable out at ridiculous amounts – from double to ten times what we are actually paid – but there is the negative side that due to the aforementioned budget squeezing we are often expected to squeeze three weeks worth of strategic thought and ideation into 17 minutes and not be able to put any of that on our time sheets appropriately, leading to awkward questions when later asked what we have been up to.
Not fair really is it?
Now, I know your role as you know mine – I’m self-employed and come in to do specific jobs it is a lot easier as I get on with what I’m there for, they know how many days they are paying me for and I bill accordingly and over deliver where possible.
It took a while and working at a few agencies to realise that the best way for teams to get on with each other is to understand what the other guys are doing, what their issues are and where the frustrations and hold ups in their workflow come from, and helping them to know your role. That way people start to become sympathetic and empathetic with each others’ needs and don’t go off on one or moan about boring admin issues when getting a brief through the studio is the more important thing.
I devised a system that I have implemented at the last couple of agencies I’ve worked with that aims to ease such tensions and foster unity within the workplace across disciplines.
Essentially it is a series of shadowing sessions whereby each person in the company is given one hour each fortnight to shadow someone else in the business in order to understand their role and build a sense of greater understanding about all the cogs in the agency wheel. I have to say it has been greeted with mixed reviews when pitched in but once in place and rolled out I am yet to hear a negative thing about it – less arguments, an understanding of what the holdups are and the ability to help others simplify their workflow through fresh eyes on an established procedure.
Try it out.
What issues have you faced interacting with other teams and how have you implemented new ideas to ease tensions both personally and professionally? How do you get other people to appreciate and know your role? What kind of business tips can you offer to help others make sure it doesn’t happen to them?