Advertising agencies are notorious for work silos and divided teams. Folks that work in a typical agency environment often hear the cringe-worthy words, “account service vs. creative,” “take it up with the creative director,” or “fight that battle with the media team.” There are a lot of reasons for this infighting, most of which came into play a long time ago and are completely irrelevant and out of date now. This icky, “climb the agency ladder on the backs of your peers” attitude is one of the reasons Agency Zero exists. None of us want to work in that kind of environment. We are crafting a different kind of place, one where opinions and input from everyone are valued. And, we’ve been rewarded with loyal, happy employees, and a culture that fosters great creativity and innovative thinking. If this theory can work in advertising, an industry rife with internal disagreements, it’s certain to work in other types of organizations as well. The basic premise is the platinum rule, “treat others how THEY want to be treated.” Perhaps it sounds simple, but in truth, if every employee for every company understood and lived by this motto, managing people would be a whole lot easier. Here are some of the ways we put this into practice every day.

  • Never expect your teammate to do something you aren’t willing to do yourself.
  • Help each other.
  • If the ownership team doesn’t yell, berate people, or condescend, no one else can do those things either.
  • Laughter goes a long way toward successful project completion, especially when there’s a deadline looming.
  • Our successes are the team’s successes, and failures are the team’s failures. We own our outcomes together.
  • Get a life. Working ridiculous hours all the time doesn’t promote creativity. The best ideas and attitudes come from people with a full life that they love, not from exhausted employees living at the office.
  • Say what you think, but speak kindly.
  • And finally, have fun. We work a huge portion of our lives. Let’s make it a good thing.

What do you think? Are you more likely to work hard for a demanding manager with crazy expectations? Or, are you more likely to give your all for a kind mentor who is willing to get right down in the trenches with you?

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