Early in my career, I was an Assistant Account Manager in the world of advertising. I worked for a firm that targeted the technology industry and found great success. The three founding partners were always very cordial and continually tried to build a creative work environment, at least it seemed that way to me.
To build a creative work environment, employees were encouraged to dress as they pleased and be relaxed, innovative, and to have fun. Exciting events were hosted every few weeks, designed to set the tone for the organization as a place where the employee would feel appreciated and rewarded. The company had a nice office and break rooms for employees to gather, talk, and have opportunities to collaborate with each other to meet the very demanding needs of clients.
At the time I joined the firm, the company seemed to be experiencing growth and appeared to be a place that I might want to continue working after graduating from college, which was only a few months away. I was searching for a company that could help me grow and develop, and felt this company would help me do so. As the advertiser, I saw new high-tech products that were innovative and totally new to the high-tech industry. I loved seeing and learning about these products before most everyone else in the world and felt very stimulated to be involved with the variety of high-profile new product campaigns.
However, this wonderful perception was really a view of the organization at the surface level. As I continued to work closer with my peers, I learned that most employees didn’t have a long tenure with the firm. I often overheard people complain about other departments, saying “they never get anything done on time” or “that individual only cares about them self.”
I started to see the many conflicts and management issues throughout the organization. It became very clear to me that most people in this industry were worried about maximizing their personal success rather than through collaboration and working like a highly effective team. While employees had to work together to get the client’s needs met, everyone seemed to fight for the credit so they could boost their own portfolio. Working hard to equally share the success, the credit of a successful campaign, and a satisfied client was a foreign concept to most of them.
The potential for greater success was there, but people wanted the credit, the glory, and the next promotion to a higher spot in the firm, or a job offer from the firm “around the corner.” It was then that I learned that teamwork is a critical and a very sensitive element to a highly successful organization. I could see that if the employees didn’t learn to work together, and not just with each other, they would never truly acquire the success that they were capable of obtaining.
After getting the most out of this experience, I moved on to further develop my skills and career in other areas. I look back on this learning experience as a great lesson that taught me the importance of teamwork and helped me understand how much others value effective teams. Remember, the bottom line is only one measurement of success.