Teamwork: All the cool kids are doing it

“Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller

A lot has changed at Resolute over the last 5 months. In addition to growing our team, expanding our marketing and public relations expertise and honing in on what we do best, we moved offices to a new entrepreneurship center, 36 Degrees North.

There were a lot of reasons for the move. We needed more space. 36°N provided flexibility for expansion through coworking areas. The features were going to be state of the art, and we loved the idea of being downtown within walking distance of several of our clients. But what I think we all underestimated was the power of being in this shared space. We get to work alongside movers and shakers, learn from other entrepreneurs and coach new startups. As we experience the growth and doubt and uncertainty that go hand in hand with entrepreneurship, we have the comfort of knowing we aren’t going it alone. There’s a community that’s not only been there, but survived it.

This microcosm of collaboration has been on my mind a lot lately. Between elections, hot button issues and every day drama, the name of the game seems to be to go for the jugular. We point out what everyone else does wrong, and when it’s their turn to speak, we stick in our ear plugs. And this isn’t a national issue. We see this all the time in our very own city on local issues.

In a world like that, there is no changing anyone’s mind, let alone meeting in the middle. Call me Pollyanna, but why is it so difficult for us to focus on the greater good? Can’t we all get along, respect each other – and brace yourself – accept that other people might have a good idea? 

Our team recently started working with personal strengths finder extraordinaire Adam Seaman with Talent2Strength. If you haven’t heard of him already, he’s consulted on organizational development for Pepsi, the United States Navy, Leadership Tulsa and numerous nonprofits in the Tulsa area. He started by conducting a Strengths Finder test on each of our employees to help us understand our talents and how we can best work together. I knew our team was something special, but I had no idea what a unique set of individuals make up Resolute.

Like when Ally places 3 stories in one day and still has time to surprise me with a snow cone, it’s because she has this innate ability to prioritize her thoughts and tasks to get them done most efficiently. Or when Natalie tells me about search behaviors and psychographics of a buyer persona for a new client, it’s because she got so excited about learning this new industry, she couldn’t stop herself and read everything she could get her eyes on. When Jen asks me if my day is going OK, it’s not a line. It’s because she’s so in tune to my emotions, she literally feels my need for chocolate. When Bayli turns around a project the same day I assigned it to her, it’s because she’s wired to feel psychologically responsible for the balls in her court. And when Lacey takes time off to volunteer on a nonprofit board, I know it’s because she feels a strong emotional connection to the cause and what it stands for.

Some of these people I’ve known since I was 16, and yet I never knew any of this until I took the time to really LISTEN to what was going on under the hood.

Now – if you’d told me 5 years ago that I’d office with 174 people from 76 other companies, some of whom do what I do, and work at the table (or the couch) next to them, I would have said you’re crazy. How can I do that? They might steal my ideas! They’ll know how the sausage is made! And for the companies who don’t cross over into marketing, how can I even think of giving away my ideas away for free! They’re all I have!

But things in my life have changed a lot in 5 years. I became an entrepreneur. I accepted that I can’t do it all. (OK, I’m still working on that one.)  I read – a lot – and realized I have a unique way of doing things that nobody can replicate. And I experienced true collaboration. You should try it some time. It’s pretty awesome.