If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that I am a member of PRSA’s Counselors Academy and consider it one of the best investments I make each year in my professional development.
One of the advantages of membership is access to webinars led by people like Eric Morgenstern, president and CEO of Morningstar Communications in Kansas City. Eric was one of the first people I met in Counselors going back 10+ years. He leads a very successful agency and is always willing to share his wisdom and insight so that others can achieve the same.
Last week’s talk was titled Expectations of Excellence and addressed the people part of our business. We know the key to our success lies with the people we have on our team – their commitment to excellence each and every day is what will ensure our businesses go from good to great.
He shared a few elements to building an amazing team:
Hire excellent people
Empower them to achieve, thrive
Support them when they need help
Stay the heck out their way and let them be
And he asks us to consider what it will take for that person to be excellent on your team. Quoting Michael J. Fox, Eric says, “I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection. Excellence I can reach for; perfection is G-d’s business.”
He says there are some consistent qualities in excellent people:
Knowledge. About the industry and about the client industries.
Perspective – how well do you see the world, are you able to identify a solution not just point out the problem.
Personal Qualities – you can’t teach ethics and accountability. The person you hire must believe in always doing the right thing, that your word is your bond.
Understand the sense of urgency and always practice responsiveness. “A really good plan delivered early will always beat a ‘perfect’ plan one day late.”
Anyone working in the agency business has likely been fired by a client. They may tell you all sorts of reasons why, but the underlying reason is either a fiscal one or a creative one. Our job is to earn our fees by bringing creative ideas to the client. We shouldn’t wait around for them to tell us what to do. And the excellent team member gets that and does it all the time.
And a few other nuggets of wisdom that makes an excellent team member:
Understands that “we’ve always done it that way” is NOT an answer. Tradition is not a key to successful business.
Is willing to ask for forgiveness not permission because it shows initiative.
Always plays great in the sandbox with others. “Amazing how much can get done if we don’t worry about who gets the credit” – Vince Lombardi.
Believes that professional respect is earned not given and always expressing gratitude.
Acts like a window when receiving praise – praise goes right through to the team, gives credit to all. Acts like a mirror when receiving criticism or feedback – takes it on when something goes wrong and owns it.