I think we have a pretty special, one-of-a-kind environment here at our offices. We’re in a competitive industry that requires creativity, confidence, compliance and leadership. We need to collaborate with our colleagues, or play well in the sandpit by ourselves. All with the mindset that we are continually striving to deliver top-class service to our clients in a highly agile, competitive market.

In the one conversation, we each might need to have the authority to lead, or the confidence to yield and follow another team member, ask for help or put down our tools to solve a colleague’s problem. And we all manage to do this with absolute willingness. There’s no egos, no manipulation, no anxious tension and never any undermining. I think I’d go so far as to say we have a mindful appreciation of each other’s skills, personalities, differences, and talents.

Our awesome environment is not like this by accident. We’ve strategically cultivated this neat little team, that we call the Big Blue Digital Family, and we’ve been working hard on it over the last year.

Now I’m not an Organisational Psychologist by any stretch of the imagination. And our company has values which we strive to live out (Team, Innovation, Passion, Prosperity, Service). But I thought I’d share some of the tangible keys we’ve strategically implemented to foster a high performing team in a creative and competitive environment that work…and the proof is in the pudding!

1. Get good people, and you’ll get good results.

I think that, on the whole, most skills can be taught. Character and integrity – not so much. We all have our challenging days and our flaws, but I can, hand-on-heart say, that we have strategically employed people here who do (more than) great work and continually grow in talent and attitude. We hire to fit our family.

2. Work is Fun!

Yes we’ve got deadlines to meet, budgets to achieve and clients to service. But, we proactively endeavour to make work a fun place to be! How? Good ‘ol breaking-bread, so to speak! FriYay (Friday) is our dress up day with a new theme weekly, accompanied by 4pm beverages and snacks to yarn through the week’s wins and losses – a great way to round out the week with great friends. Our work FB group is a place we can all casually share snaps from our getaways, keep in touch over holiday periods and build strength in our working relationships beyond the four walls of our office

3. Transparency

I know there’s a realistic limit to this in all organisations, but each of us here have a near real-time, clear understanding of what the business’ goals are, how we’re tracking, where we need to focus and how we’re each contributing to the day’s outcomes – qualitatively and quantitatively. How does that affect the team’s performance? I think it gives us individual and collective accountability because we each know the vital role we all play in collectively succeeding.

4. Vulnerability

All of us here are very good at what we do, and we proactively and publicly acknowledge each other’s talents and achievements. But, we have deliberately fostered a trusting environment where, right across the organisation, we can be secure enough to say when we need help, we don’t know how to do something or we want a second opinion. And the best thing about that? There’s always expert help at hand that can’t get out of their chair fast enough!

5. Layout

A while ago, we consciously made the decision to reduce the number of screens we each have at our workstation and change the layout so that we’re in pods of people that typically collaborate together. We did this because no one was talking to each other! Now, our long-lunch style set up, means we can see everyone, chat, laugh, collaborate, brainstorm and live out our organisational values….or, get food envy from across the way at someone else’s lunch!

So my take out from all of that? Culture and high performance is something that we are each responsible for building, contributing to and fostering for the strategic benefit of the company. It can’t just come from the top, it has to be owned by each and every one of our staff members.

The results? Happy staff, great work, and happy clients. Winning!

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