By Cassie Augustine Jones, Vice President, O’Brien Advertising
and CWCC Member
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of reasons for this infighting, most of which came into play a really long time ago and are completely irrelevant and out of date now.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 actually one of the primary reasons that our founder, Terri O’Brien, started the agency. She wanted to create a different kind of place, one where opinions and input from every department are respected across all departments. She decided to build an agency with a culture of collaboration. And here we are, nearly 25 years later, and believe it or not? It’s still working. 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. Most of the O’Brien philosophy can be summed up in three little words, “Just act right.” Perhaps it sounds too 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 try and put this into practice at O’Brien Advertising every day.
1) Never expect your teammate to do something you aren’t willing to do yourself.
2) Help each other.
3) If the ownership team doesn’t yell, berate people, or condescend, no one else can do those things either.
4) Laughter goes a long way toward successful project completion, especially when there’s a deadline looming.
5) Our successes are the team’s successes, and failures are the team’s failures. We own our outcomes together.
6) 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.
7) Say what you think, but speak kindly.
8) 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?
Cassie Augustine Jones
Vice President, O’Brien Advertising
About O’Brien Advertising
O’Brien Advertising is a full-service advertising agency located in lower downtown Denver. The happy team at O’Brien provides clients around the country with smart strategies, compelling creative executions and attentive client service, all delivered with just the right amount of laughter.