Pegasus MD, Simon Hackett explains why his Christmas wish is that we set aside online communications to build meaningful workplace relationships in real life.
It’s that time of year – my house is already busy with my wife’s vast family returning from wherever they live in the world, back in time for Christmas. Although no doubt I’ll quickly be tired of it, I love catching up, hearing their stories and properly rekindling relationships that have been dormant since the last visit. Despite sharing our photos on social media, it’s only when we get face-to-face and spend some quality time together do we really understand what’s been going on in their world and can build the connection again. Often, you realise the WhatsApp messages and pictures on Instagram are telling a very different story to reality.
We need to approach our work relationships in the same way. Too often we email (sometimes even to people sitting next to us), too often we expect the weekly client call to do the job.
If we want enriching relationships with our workmates and our clients, we need to put the face time in (and I’m not talking about the iPhone app). We need to meet, chat, connect, ask questions about each other, and just remind ourselves that we are two people heading in the same direction. We will produce great work together as people who understand each other. We’ll want to work harder and better. We’ll be more forgiving, more helpful, more generous when we make mistakes and we may even have a shed load of fun.
Building long-term partnerships help them to stand the test of time, see problems as temporary and enjoy triumphs more. Invest enough time – because it does require investment – and that client or colleague may very well follow you to their next role or your next agency. They may also be open to discussing some of the things that we need to change in the agency world, such as the inequity of increasingly demanding pitch processes. They may even want to invest their time in thinking about how you can build exciting new services together.
We must take the lessons we are giving around the importance of personalisation in communications and listen to them ourselves. We must counter the noise of relentless barrage of content with quality time.
At Pegasus, we have a Head of Client Partnerships on our leadership team. We ask our people to focus on building proper, mutually beneficial partnerships and long-term relationships with their clients. We think this pays dividends for everyone. I believe that people come to us because they want something to change, but they stay with us because they want to change it with us.
So my message this year to anyone on client or agency side is to put the keyboard down and go and have lunch. Or a drink. Or do one of those clichéd team building experiences. It doesn’t matter, just get out there and have some fun together.
This Christmas, I’m going to spend the next few weeks eating, drinking, and laughing with as many people as possible. If I don’t see you this Christmas, have a wonderful one and let’s get together in the new year. If you want, I’ll even cook turkey.
My very best wishes for a great Christmas!