When people ask me about Make & Build, amongst the first questions I get is, How do you keep all those different personalities on the same page? The answer I always offer is that I don’t manage down to that level, and the reason why is that you don’t need to if employees come to the company for the right reasons. We hire around a core set of beliefs. So the great people that flourish at Make & Build have a set of guiding principles, but also the autonomy to be themselves and defend their ideas to shape a dynamic (but professional) culture.
Up until a few years ago, my experience was predominantly managing salespeople, recruiters and technologists. I had friends that were creative-minded, executing traditional roles in a traditional agency environment. The stories I heard about these environments were everything and anything but the types of environments I would want to create, much less work within. Bureaucracy, backstabbing and people that don’t “get it” can completely drain the lifeblood out of even the best organization.
Technology people are similar in many ways. The best seem to love autonomy as long as they know they have the support required if they need it. They would choose a new MacBook Pro and 4K monitor over a Herman Miller cube and company espresso. But when you strip away the visible things and focus on what gets both sets of folks out of bed in the morning, it’s beliefs not trinkets that keep our people moving forward.
It’s not a cool office, though we have that in spades.
It’s not great coffee, though our friends at Batdorf & Bronson make a strong case to the contrary.
It’s not even the people, though it totally is.
The one thing I have found that binds these seemingly polarized groups together is the belief that we’re not trudging over the same old ground. We’re taking new ways of solving old problems, packaging them with appealing design and enabling them with bleeding-edge technology. We’re trying to take something that big agencies have been fumbling over for years — getting tech and creative to not only work together but love and respect one another. It’s that appreciation for each others’s craft that binds and excites us at Make & Build.
Both creative and tech are building awesome things, they’re not that different at all. The approaches vary, as do the tools, but the pride of an accomplished craftsman in his/her finished project is a universal language.
What are some of your best and worst experiences working at an agency? Share your stories and we’ll revisit this topic with your feedback in the coming months.