“Creativity is intelligence having fun.” – Albert Einstein
Can you imagine having a seat at the table with Albert Einstein? Oh, the places that conversation could go. Success in Out of Home is not just about having the right campaign elements. It’s the collaborative (and creative) environment behind it. It’s the people who are at the table.
Combine talent, the process of agile thinking, and a culture of high performance teams, and you have the right chemistry for creativity. Most importantly, you’ll generate creatively successful outcomes.
To get the full picture, the whole brain is needed—left and right. Since that’s hard to find in one person, it requires a team. One that provides a balance of talents to make sure we consider all aspects, maximize ideation, and have the ability to execute well. This completes the collaboration and innovation process.
Innovation requires agility. Typically, we find agile methods in conjunction with technology. It’s a process that maximizes output through early results, empowered teams, and eager participants. Agile methods give employees the right environment, support, and trust, thereby motivating them. Harvard Business review notes, “Agile innovation depends on having a cadre of eager participants” (“Embracing Agile“, Harvard Business Review) Where those participants work in teams and agility flourishes, innovation abounds.
In The Wisdom of Teams: Creating the High Performance Organization, authors Jon Katzenbach and Douglas Smith define high performing teams as “a group of people with complementary skills who are equally committed to a common purpose, goals, and working approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable and has members who are also deeply committed to one another’s personal growth and success.”
If you are experienced (read OLD) like me, these concepts aren’t new. What’s refreshing is to see the application of these concepts not in technology teams but in marketing and advertising. It’s the idea that creativity alone isn’t enough. That in the age of short-term relevance even the greatest ideas only last a short time. We need to be agile, work only with committed people, and allow for different ideas and thoughts. By fully embracing this, we’ve found it’s the “deep commitment to one another’s personal growth and success” that makes these rare environments the most fulfilling of our careers.
So now you know why EMC implements Einstein’s principle. These fundamentals ensure that we work as hard as, maybe even harder than other teams to deliver success. We back it up with Our Values, Our Approach, and Our People.
Our core values guide our team through everything from creative strategy sessions to daily project tasks. They provide a system that both supports employees and offers opportunity for vertical and cross-departmental buy-in. We have an annual Billboard award for the employee that most exemplifies these values, as well as bimonthly awards for employees to identify a peer that best exemplifies each value. According to our employee survey, 100% of our employees are determined to give their best effort at work each day. Again, as someone who has many years under their belt, I personally highly value this environment. It makes going to work easy and, even on the challenging days, always rewarding. See what I mean, it’s easy to thrive with these kinds of attitudes!
EMC Outdoor Core Values:
- OPEN: We are courageous and conduct open and direct communications.
- COLLABORATIVE: We are collaborative, both internally and externally.
- SOLUTION-ORIENTED: We are solution-oriented; we find the most effective options and solutions.
- DEDICATED: We are dedicated and willing to roll-up our sleeves and work hard- we earn it!
- CLIENT-FOCUSED: We always “leave a seat at the table” for our clients.
- POSITIVE: We share a positive attitude with one another and promote a fun, energetic, and enthusiastic approach to our work.
The most impactful Core Value that EMC follows is being client-focused—that we always leave a seat at the table for our clients. In all aspects of our team interactions, we conduct ourselves as if our clients are right there listening. It causes us to work with the highest level of integrity. Would the client be enthused with our approach and effort? Would they love our ideas? Could they appreciate that we care about making it win/win?
We believe that our agility serves us best when creativity is the focus. Our clients need fresh ideas—often, fast ideas—and we employ several proven methods to achieve them. First, we collaborate as an organized team of diverse professionals that regularly reviews and brainstorm campaigns. All sides of the brain pulling out all possibilities for one account’s needs. Secondly, we believe that data, research, and integrating cost analysis will produce the most successful combination of options offered through the creative process. Left-brained and right-brained, see? We accomplish this through well-defined workflow, trained data/research team members, comprehensive research tools, and the data our clients give us on the outcomes of their programs.
Data is critical to our team’s success and working on our client’s behalf. Post campaign details are essential to that learning and adjustment. They are crucial to the commitment to one another’s personal growth and success. Those clients that commit at this level and operate in a highly open and collaborative manner enjoy working with our engaged and motivated teams, thereby attaining the greatest possible success. Our employee survey shows that 96% percent of our employees are able to make decisions affecting their work. It’s the information—the data—made available from campaign performance results that facilitates this ability.
Don’t just take our work for it, here’s what one of our clients had to say:
“Working with the team at EMC has been great, they really put the time in to understand our brand and apply their experience to our organization in a way that is solution-oriented. They find the gaps and fill them, articulate meaningful options to fulfill our strategy, and search to raise the bar with a positive outlook and a goal to always impress with each activation. Their iterative approach fits our team perfectly and their attention to detail is greatly appreciated.” – Mac Foster, Director of Marketing, LINE WEBTOON
EMC proudly stands behind our people. We can do that through hiring the right people, then ensuring that they remain engaged and informed. In a recent article, Forbes defined employee engagement as “the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals” (“What Is Employee Engagement?“, Forbes.com). We start this process by including team members in interviews.
We supplement interviews with a behavioral assessment test, called Caliper. It better informs us on team member-influencing strengths, thought processes for problem solving and decision making, a deeper look on interpersonal skills, and their ability organize their work. We seek to balance left- and right-brain team members so all projects have the benefit of diverse views and skills. Most importantly, this hiring tool starts the new employee off with a proactive conversation with their manager. They can discuss areas of focus and problem areas where another team member might be able to assist. We acknowledge that no one person is perfect, but by operating as a high-performance team we can achieve great things.
Further, we support our people, their growth, and their right to spend their working hours in the best environment possible by implementing a set of comprehensive organizational development tools:
- Every new employee gets the book, QBQ: The Questions Behind the Questions. It establishes a mind-set where to solve a problem you must understand and operate as if you might be part of the problem. Then, we conduct group discussions on things EMC could do to improve.
- Every review includes the manager’s assessment on how the employee lives up to each of our values. We ask three fundamental questions (as depicted in the book, Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business, by Gino Wickman):
- Does this person “get” what we are trying to do?
- Do they “want” this as badly as the rest of us?
- Do they “have the capacity” to do what’s being asked? Or, do they need training or someone to balance them on an aspect of their work?
- If any of the above isn’t well-aligned, then we aren’t afraid to have a conversation to determine if someone is in the right seat at EMC. How can we get struggling individuals back on track? The employee survey results show that 100% of our employees committed themselves to doing quality work. We are proud of this fact and want to maintain that standard.
- We hold an annual All Employee Meeting where we bring in everyone from our remote offices and dedicate a week to strengthening the deep commitment to one another’s personal goals. It’s a week of team building, skills development, hearing industry influencers’ perspectives on what’s going on in the world of Out of Home, and fun. A lot of food, balancing client needs in demanding days, and re-energizing an engaged group of highly talented individuals.
- Lastly, we survey our employees annually and use our QBQ groups to review results and learn where we can improve.
Come explore the QBQs and be creative with us. Bring the best half of your brain—we have a team member who can balance it with the other half. Bring your data and we’ll show you ours. Explore the results of our ideating sessions and experience the deep commitment to one another’s personal goals. We invite you to come and take a seat at our table.
Let’s see what we can create together! Contact us using the form below.