28 Feb 2014

Walking the Mile


We have all heard the adage “If you could walk a mile in my shoes." How many of us take the opportunity? At an agency that answers a bold yes to the question “Can we…” the key to success is to understand the dynamics and talent within each department by taking the challenge to learn a new skill and walk in their shoes.

Because everything is connected

So you want to build a building that is ten stories high, that is covered in glass, and right on an active fault line. Well, you hire an architect and you create an aesthetically pleasing, dramatic building that catches the eye of many onlookers, achieving optimal results. But what happens in an earthquake? Now take that same scenario, but add in a team of engineers that check that fault line for activity, create building reinforcements that account for land movement, and provide a full structural analysis before the building even begins. Now you have a team working together to create a lasting dynamic result.

Having the ability to apply this tactic to any challenge will create positive results, but to be able to understand and respect the individual roles of each department is what solidifies success. We have all had those moments where we have felt that the task that we have in front of us is the most pressing, the most important issue, and everyone else needs to pause from their tasks to focus on ours. This achieves nothing but a divided office and stressful environment. Yet if you take the time to listen and learn from the different departments in your office, you will earn everything including connectivity, fluidity, and solid results.

Become the Person with Mad Skills

The workload within departments will act like the ocean and ebb and flow. So what happens when your workload is light, but another department is drowning? Perfect learning opportunity. Offering to tackle a project in another department will diversify your strengths, help you to understand the office network, and make you the go-to person with knowledge and dexterity.

Know What’s Going On

If you take the time to listen and learn about different projects your coworkers are working on, you will have a better understanding of what’s on their plate, and when it’s a safe time to ask for assistance, and when it’s not. Also, by learning about their projects, you may learn a bit more about how long a task will take, making you a more efficient manager, and working out a better cohesive schedule.

The Most Interesting Day Award Goes To…

Lastly, by taking the time to learn about a different department and walk in your coworker’s shoes, I can guarantee that your day will never be boring. Sometimes a weekly slump can be cured by learning a new skill, and you never know when that skill will come into use for future projects.