Collaboration at Work
April 4, 2019
When I close my laptop some evenings, I find myself thinking, “How is it that this five-pound piece of metal contains my whole life?” And not because I’m completely glued to the device but because of all the people I engage, work and collaborate with daily. While many in the business world use the laptop as a means to an end, for me this laptop is a gateway to my teammates (the FinancialForce team operates from five offices), ideation (i.e., article flags/pitch ideas) and, of course our clients. I’m not a techie adopting every new tool possible, but as of late, I am genuinely in awe of how my computer houses a whole world of personalities and ideas. My colleagues are not just coworkers – they are friends, confidantes and mentors and my little hunk of HP is the source of such valuable connections.
Collaboration From My Very First Day
From Day 1, I knew FINN was different than other agencies because my managers trusted me as a new employee to work with a relatively new Israeli colleague to manage event pitching for a client’s second biggest event of the year, which would take place in San Francisco, from Chicago. I knew collaboration and teamwork were in the firm’s DNA but was impressed that leadership chose knowledge over geography, and empowered a new employee like myself to work with someone so far away. No worry about whose manager was who, rather an introduction to a colleague and the reigns and trust to do great client work. At Finn Partners, collaboration has no hierarchy.
Collaboration for All
A couple of years later when I had the chance to attend one of the Hunter retreats, I was reminded yet again that collaboration, at every skill level, is really Finn’s bottom line. While many firms provide a handful of colleagues the opportunity to visit another office (and we do too), Finn invites multiple colleagues from each office to step away from the computer and identify hot industry topics to capitalize on and to determine internal processes that might be ready for change. And, we’re not talking about just convening senior leadership (like you see in Sun Valley or read about), but employees who are early to mid-career and bringing fresh ideas and connections to their peers. As a result, I’ve seen this collaboration yield results not just for attendees, but our entire global network – new media relationships built for clients, the inception of an office-share program and improved employee onboarding processes. Collaboration doesn’t just happen in a conference room or during a one-off conversation at the office, rather, it’s a feeling and philosophy that motivates us all and earns buy-in well after an initial idea is conceived.
Collaboration Outside The Billable Task
In an agency, the hours and work are often outside the realm of a monotonous 9-5, but it also provides employees with extra opportunities to work with individuals in different locales and of different backgrounds. It really is a unique experience. At Finn where we “work hard and play nice,” collaboration isn’t just built for the billable task but to improve the world around us, and our own individual well-being. We work on pro bono projects together, serve our communities – feeding the less fortunate and running tutoring programs – developing strong interpersonal relationships and building stronger teams. In fact, I was asked to write this blog by Helen Shelton, who I worked with on facilitating a recent PRSSA presentation on diversity and inclusion, mostly from my beloved HP computer, until her visit to speak actually came about. Helen is a senior partner based in New York, and I’m in Chicago working in our Technology & Financial Services practices. Collaboration has no bounds here and its spirit builds meaningful connections. And in these extra moments, we build trust, programs, relationships and a world inside and outside of my HP.
Final Thoughts/Why It Matters
“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” – Henry Ford
The photo I am sharing here literally gives life to this telling quote by Henry Ford. The first is me working from the San Francisco office, and the second is of my friends visiting me there. It’s not in every office that senior leadership (Jeff Seedman and Ricca Silviero) pour your personal friends wine and spend time to get to know them!