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Fostering a "Best Place to Work"
13th Dec 2013 | Posted by Jim Joseph
We've had an embarrassment of riches this year at Cohn & Wolfe, with an unprecedented amount of industry-spanning awards and new business wins. It's been one for the record books.
And while winning awards for our breakthrough client campaigns, outstanding individual achievements and even "Agency of the Year" are hugely rewarding, nothing compares to being named a "Best Place to Work" three times in one year. We’re proud our creative culture has been recognized in the communications industry and beyond, receiving accolades from PR News, PRWeek and Crain's New York. Fostering an environment where people want to give their talents to others is not only our goal, but also one of the agency’s greatest rewards.
I've been asked many times “What’s the key to Cohn & Wolfe’s success”? The obvious and accurate answer is "the team," because it’s their incredible talent, dedication and originality that raise Cohn & Wolfe to new heights. That said, I think there are three core attributes that set us apart, and that I hope can serve as inspiration to others trying to build their own “best place to work.”
One of the PRWeek judges said, “In absolutely everything the agency does, it ties back to creative thinking.” We are in a creative business and clients look for us to bring it to the table. Everything we do is about driving creativity and we are all singularly motivated around our internal mantra: "Dig Deeper. Imagine More." It drives our day-to-day work, and motivates us to go one step further. Creativity is the bond that unites us. We never take it for granted, and we never stop. I would encourage every organization to let creativity thrive and allow the entire team to present their ideas. It’s been said that great ideas can come from anywhere, but only if you provide the right stimulus.
As a leader, there's no greater role you play than open communication. It's an imperfect science and I am certainly no where near perfect but I pride myself on letting people know what's going on. Team members should focus on each other and their work, not waiting for the shoe to fall. So I try my best to always be transparent with what is happening at the agency, as much as I can. And when I can't, I say so. People deserve being kept in the loop on the bigger picture, and we constantly strive to do that at Cohn & Wolfe. I learn the lesson every day that there’s no such thing as over communication in all forms, be it written, verbal, individual or social (a bit awkward). Share your thinking and update your teams as often as possible.
A team is only as good as its players and only effective when there's a diverse mix of talent. While we have the necessary structure, policies and procedures in place, they don’t dictate how we operate and people are encouraged to be bold and push the envelope . The result is a spirit of entrepreneurialism that flows through what otherwise is a pretty large organization. It's this spirit and drive that makes it individually rewarding to be here, and collectively successful at the same time. I believe that while everyone wants to be a part of a winning team, they also want their individual contributions to be nurtured and felt. So make sure you not only emphasize team work, but also provide every individual the room they need to grow and thrive.
There’s certainly no one formula for creating a culture of success, but you know it when you’re there. It's in those moments you know you're in a good place, perhaps even a best place.