I was interested to read in Entrepreneur Magazine last week that Dentsu, the Japanese advertising agency, has a long standing tradition of sending all able bodied new employees and every newly promoted executive on a mission to climb Mount Fuji – the highest mountain in Japan.
This is clearly a company with a mission statement that the agency won’t accept half measures from its staff.
It got me thinking about our company culture at Alchemis…
Now, whilst we don’t have the same kind of resources as Dentsu (one of the largest agencies in the world) to send all our new hires on a climbing mission to Japan, the importance of working together as a team is one of the key things that is drummed in to all our employees on a daily basis.
Why would this be? Each Account Manager is only really responsible for delivering results to his or her set of clients so why should they be concerned about the performance of their colleagues working on a different account?
Well the main reason would be because if the whole team is pulling in the same direction and encouraging each other, the total output can often be greater than the sum of its parts. An example of this is that people working in the Alchemis new business team find it easier to pick up the phone and make call after call every day as the whole team are there in the same environment. To be in an office where you are the only person trying to generate new business using the phone can often seem so much more daunting without the camaraderie of your colleagues who are all in the same boat.
Add to that the fact that aside from an Account Manager’s individual bonus (which he or she will effectively be the sole contributor to), there are constantly great team incentives that require everybody to put their full effort in to achieve them.
Frankly nobody wants to let the side down and this is the kind of spirit Alchemis has always sought in any new recruits.
So, whilst mountaineering expeditions for our staff are less frequent than at Dentsu, we do have an initiation that all able-bodied staff undertake during the summer and then repeat every year they work here: the company rounders match.
A good way to describe this is “the game that cannot be stopped” because nobody will give in until the bitter end. One side wins? Well, let’s make it the best of 3 matches then. Just like the spirit in the office, the team will never admit defeat.
I’m pretty sure that in the days following, when the muscles are aching to the extent you can barely even crawl, the thought of a hike up Mount Fuji instead of the hours of carnage endured on a makeshift lumpy rounders pitch would seem like a welcome stroll in the park.