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Creating a Winning Environment

With the burden of daily deadlines, we are all trying to get things done on time. It doesn’t matter the industry, the work needs to be done and it needs to be done right. I think it’s become a common practice to keep our heads down and bury ourselves in our work. I’ve worked in offices where people give in to this strategy. It gets quiet enough to hear a mouse put his socks on and time goes by with ZERO interaction. No one talking, just the ‘clack click’ of workstation keyboards. If I needed to get a task done that required help from my leadership team, I would walk in their door, running smack dab into a ‘what do you want’ look. Not a positive experience. Something positive did come of this experience:  I became an independent worker, resourceful and curious to find my own answers. I became the lead on many projects because I figured out how to get things done and rarely bother anyone. On the flip side, I second guessed my work because no one was ever telling me if it was good or bad, I was completely disconnected from my team, and no one ever stopped to celebrate success. I didn’t stay long in this environment before it was, “adios, this gal has to go.” 

As time went on and I continued climbing the ladder that was my career, there were many times leadership opportunities were presented and I was super excited. I wanted my own chance to lead a team. I wanted to get everyone fired up about a project and work together until the job was done to the best of our ability. I truly believe you are only as strong as the team that surrounds you. We are all working together toward a common goal. We want to help our clients be successful and in return we will be successful. This is not an independent effort. Especially when you are in the line of communication like so many of us are. 

There are three people in our office that make up the leadership team. It really helps us stay on track with our goals as a leaders of a growing company. Sure, we’ve bumped around a bit as the years go on, but there is one thing that is always certain…we care about our team. Personally, I think we have the very best people that are experts within our industry–. We all continue to work together and help each other to reach the common goal that is our client’s success.

So how do we do this? We create a focus around a few things, and even if we get busy, we hold ourselves accountable to make sure we leave time for operational health checks. If you’re looking for some adjustments to the team dynamic in your corner of the work universe, here’s a list of things to try:

Celebrate milestones – As you are starting to work on the coming year, give yourself and your team a few goals that you’d like to reach. Make something visible in the office to show progress toward reaching these, and when you do take the time to celebrate. Ice cream socials, happy hour, team building activities like bowling are all very easy ways to celebrate achievements with your team. This gives them an opportunity to get to know each other even more and the next time someone needs help, they are going to want to jump in to make sure their team feels supported and can reach their next goal. 

Mood Boards – Create a mood board to visually show your goals. As a team we have a mood board at the office full of pictures of brands and industries we want to work with that we may not be working with already. It’s fun at the end of the year to see how many new accounts we are fulfilling from our mood board dreaming.

Continued Education – Allow your employees to participate in continued education programs within their expertise. There are a lot of opportunities in your local market where you can connect with industry professionals and learn more about what you do. Networking is also a great way to meet like minded people in your industry, and share thoughts on various topics. Here in Omaha we have a great group called Creative Mornings. We also belong to the American Advertising Federation of Omaha. Beyond organizations we participate in regularly, we look for opportunities for our employees to participate in local events. We had two eager gals in the office that asked to go to On Brand this year. It was great and they brought back a lot of good information for our team. If there is something outside of your market that makes sense, budget to send someone there that can bring back information to the group. Whatever you do, never stop learning. 

Open door policy – There are some days that can be stressful. No matter what, it’s important to us that our employees feel supported. If they have questions they can ask. We are in pretty close quarters in our current space, so it’s not uncommon to ask a question from your desk and have a few people that can answer it. Myself included. If someone needs privacy, they surely can shut the door, but leadership tries to be available to allow our team to keep a project moving. We never want a project screeching to a halt because one of us couldn’t be available for a question. You have to figure out what works best for you and your team, but I would encourage you to make it a priority to be available to some extent during your day. I’ve heard of managers that set a time for 2p each day to walk a floor and ask employees how their day is going or if they need anything. They spend 30 minutes to an hour walking the floor getting to know their employees and seeing what projects they are working on.

Be Grateful – This is big for me, and I know my partners feel the same. We are not promised to keep this amazing group by our side for years to come, but if we can provide a good culture, we’ll retain good people. This, in turn, creates quality work–which is what we strive for and what our clients deserve. We are grateful for the work that we do, and our employees that work hard for us every day. When you walk into the door challenge yourself to help someone even if you are busy that day. Take notice of the quiet person that doesn’t ask for much. Make sure they are feeling supported. Give your feedback on projects whether it’s good or bad so your team continues to know you are grateful for their work and that you appreciate their time. 

Reviews – We didn’t always follow these tips when we first started our business. The wisdom and refined approach came with a few bumps. I would encourage everyone to set aside this time so you can get feedback and give feedback. We learned so much during employee reviews. It’s helped us continue to learn what makes our employees perform the best and adjust processes as we grow. Once we started conducting these, we did them once a year. Now we do a mid-year review and end of year. It’s exciting for us to be able to share with our team our plans for growth and vision for the agency during these one on ones. 

We continue to look at the bigger picture around here. As the new year approaches, my wish is that you do the same. And, if you need help with your advertising you can rest assured there is a team here in Omaha that is ready to partner with you. Our door is open!

Eleven Twenty-Three is a full-service advertising agency in Omaha, NE that specializes in media planning and creative development. We help our client’s find smart solutions for their advertising needs. With capabilities in both traditional and digital media planning, we marry the two and create successful campaigns that see results. Need help growing your customer base? Let’s get the conversation started! Contact us at 402-593-1123 or visit us at

Author: Shana Boyd

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