PROOF | change communication & employee alignment

Collaboration is one of the keys to building an employee love brand.

by Ben Wickham

A friend of mine joined the army when we were 18. It was inevitable – he was always trying to blow things up, shoot things or cover himself in mud. During his period in the Army he spent a week training in Scotland with the British SAS.

He didn’t say much about what he got up to – but one thing fascinated him something that goes some way to making the SAS who they are. There is a complete, total and utter trust in the competences of the team. You literally trust them with your life and would die for them if you had to.

You cannot talk about collaboration without talking about trust – it is the foundation of everything we do. If you do not trust your colleagues – their integrity, their commitment, their competencies, their ability to do the job… then quietly pack up your belongings, say thanks to your manager and leave the building.

If you do not know how to trust people – get some help. Life will be miserable and you will be a constant road block to your success and the success of your business.

As an agency our success or failure of a project depends on our ability to collaborate as a team and collaborate with our clients.

So here are four tips for collaborating.

1. Surround yourself with brilliance.

I started off directing films. Rule #1 at director school is let people do their job. As a director and even today in my current role, it my responsibility to see the big picture, to know how all the elements come together and how all the different people and pieces need to connect. But when it comes to operating a camera: I’m a junior. When it comes to the intricacies of Adobe: I’m a junior. I surround myself with people that are better than me and empower them with the vision to deliver what we need.

2. Define Roles. Broaden Skills.

The SAS usually work in four man teams: medic, linguist, forward air support, demolitions. Each one is specialised in a particular area but, each one has the ability to step in to someone else shoes.

Collaboration works when there are clearly defined roles: between individuals and between agency and client. Who does what? What are their specialisms.

Within our agency we have SWAP sessions where someone offers a skill to the team in exchange for learning something from someone else. Its playful, broadens skills and makes clear what people broader specialisms are.

3. Ask for help. Give help.

Jorgen vig Knudstorp, the CEO of Lego, says this

“Blame is not for failure, its for failing to help or ask for help.”

Creating a culture where people can make mistakes, be honest, raise their hand, be a Junior is critical. Collaboration (trust) is rooted in openness and vulnerability.

4. Trust

Trust your CEO

Trust your leadership

Trust your colleagues

Trust your clients

Trust your agency


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