Smells like team spirit
I often find myself walking around the park at the weekend (pushing the baby). As the seasons change, so too do the sports being played there. As autumn has crept in kids soccer has taken over from the cricket, but a common theme prevails and it worries me.
Once I got past the coaches bellowing at under 8's to "tackle hard" and "lift the intensity" during soccer, or "pressure, pressure, let's take this kid down early" during the cricket season, and everything else that says to me the attitude is all wrong – surely kids at that age should be learning team work, fair play, creativity and most of all having fun? I got to thinking about the recipe for successful teams.
My thinking went something like this... American sports (as a rule) have very defined roles in the team make-up. In NFL for instance you might not even touch the ball all game, your job is to do one thing and do it to perfection. The All Blacks you could say have a similar ethos which is built on the ideals of high performance cultures - in that you only think about your job, knowing that the man next to you will be there, doing his part in the team strategy.
So, here we have our under 8's all tearing around after the same ball like a herd of sheep, unable to pass to anyone in space, relying on not being "tackled hard" and hoping the ball will pop out goalward. Everyone trying to do the same job and not seeing how the team can excel with more defined roles and goals.
Very few design agencies have the luxury of precisely defined roles. Yes, there's creatives, suits, strategists, planners, digital bods and what not. But as communications diversify, and audiences splinter, shift and evolve it's unsustainable for any agency to have a player in each specific role. The alternatives are a decision we ourselves faced last year. To become generalists or specialists.
Of course we chose to redefine who we are, what we offer and how we approach our work. Opting to focus on what we do best (thinking and its creative application), changing our business model to be collaborative with other experts who can add to our skills on a project by project basis. Drawing on a select pool of partners from developers, to social media strategists, videographers, communication specialist writers to illustrators, photographers and more we are able to create high performing communications, all built on and around the thing we do best: creative thinking.
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