I had an amazing experience recently while in Dallas for a PRSA Board of Directors meeting.

The good folks at advertising agency The Richards Group generously provided space for us to gather, and, as part of the deal, we had an opportunity to witness what in my opinion is a true “all-about-people” story.

What happened, you ask?

Very simply, agency founder and chief “cheerleader” Stan Richards introduced us to his 600-plus-member organization and related for us his philosophy on creating a winning team of communication professionals.

It’s one thing to say your employees are happy; it’s another to witness that happiness. The sheer joy of working at The Richards Group was palpable… clearly etched on the faces of every single person gathered in the three-story stairwell that serves as passageway and meeting space within the agency.

More to the point, the unabashed pride that Stan takes in his creation… made very successful thanks to the hard work, creativity, dedication, enthusiasm, and devotion of each and every member of the team… filled the building.

Among the takeaways for me was the undeniable truth that “if you let great people do what they do best, they will do great things.”

Three long window ledges filled to the brim with awards recognizing outstanding work on behalf of the agency’s clients provided tangible proof that these folks are very good at what they do!

But this post isn’t about the “business.”

It’s about what can happen when you allow incredibly talented people… in any type of organization… to have fun, build relationships with their co-workers, and collaborate freely, openly and willingly with them.

Teamwork

“Teamwork” is an often (in my opinion) overused … or misused … word. I constantly hear coaches pontificating about the “value” of teamwork (“There is no ”˜I’ in team”).

But I also constantly see, and hear about, just the star players and their (apparently all-important) contributions to the success of their team.

Sounds more like “I” to this skeptic!

Teamwork is the direct result of each and every member of that team being valued for his or her talents and contributions.

And it comes from the recognition that, only by creating opportunities for everyone to have an equal say, does the team succeed.

We ended the Friday portion of our meeting with a tour of The Richards Group’s facilities. It was closing in on 6 pm, and Stan was describing for us the “village” concept of the organization.

Account teams are clustered together, everyone responsible for a client account is located in one area (hence, “village”).

The idea, according to Stan, was that these folks would (and do) become part of a family unit; sharing, caring, and contributing to the overall success of the team and…by extension…the agency.

One particularly telling occurrence was (remember, this was Friday afternoon about 6!) when, in response to a question asked by one of our group, a young account exec popped her head around the corner of her workspace with the answer and an absolute glow of joy on her face.

What’s so significant about this?

I would offer, based on my own experience as worker and/or supervisor for 40-plus years, that she wasn’t at her desk because she had to be there.

She was at her desk because she wanted to be there; to devote just a little more time to perfecting some work on behalf of a client.

And that’s the “moral” of this story, my friends.

Stan Richards is passionate about providing his employees with every possible opportunity to flourish and to succeed as professionals.

His employees, in turn, are passionate about providing the very best service possible to clients as part of finely-tuned account teams.

His clients…and his employees…benefit from the results.

Success is defined by three “Ps.”

A passion for what you’re doing.

The people who make it happen.

The professionalism that shows in everything that everyone does in support of the mission.

Are you there yet?

Image: Photobrixie via Flickr 2.o

Kirk Hazlett

Kirk Hazlett

Professor at Curry College
Kirk Hazlett, APR, Fellow PRSA, holds the position of Associate Professor, Communication/ Public Relations, at Curry College. He also is a member of the Public Relations Society of America's Board of Ethics and Professional Standards. Kirk has 35+ years' federal government and nonprofit organization PR experience, followed by nearly 10 years' undergraduate- and graduate-level college teaching experience. Some of the organizations he has counseled include the Blood Bank of Hawaii, Medical Area Service Corporation and Boston Harborfest. He blogs at A Professor's Thoughts.
Kirk Hazlett