We have all been there…sitting at work, thinking to ourselves, “If I ran this company, things would be sooo much better!” Perhaps you have noticed inefficiencies, experienced poor communication, or just had unclear objectives or directives. The point is, no company is perfect, and often times upper management is disconnected from their workforce. I have not only experienced this in a big company, but almost found myself losing track of my team as a business leader. When you get wrapped up in the bottom line, client relations, sales and lead gathering, it is easy to lose sight of the thing that is most important to the entire business: the team.
In the last 12 months of managing a small company, I have experienced so many things that can lend to business and life that I do not know where to begin. Thus, I am going to feature a new article weekly about the aspects of successfully navigating the business world. For this week, the focus is the company workforce and your employees.
There can not be enough emphasis placed on the importance of a solid team. Your company may have been founded on a single great idea or the talent of a couple individuals, but if there is no team to support that initial spark, that entrepreneurial fire will die before it is ever fully kindled. There is an awesome quote by Henry Ford, a man who deeply understood the necessity of teamwork:
Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.
In the forming stages of the company, you must surround yourself with people that not only share your vision for what the future holds, but also people who are open to change, experience, and learning new things. Take these qualities as not only the basis for evaluating a worthy employee, but also as reflection points for your own life; most likely, any entrepreneurs reading this will already value and practice these things (after all, you took a risk, were not afraid of the changes, and learned through your experiences). But, ambition and progressive thinking alone will not be the game-changer for your team if the skills are not there.
A skilled workforce is hard to come by, in any field. Often times, small companies begin with a couple founding members that possess and/or have executed a great idea. The company will no doubt seek to expand, in order to further the idea, cash in on its value, or have an impact on the world. Regardless, this expansion, if not done with care and strategy, can send the emerging company straight into the ground. It is important to start growing to meet needs, but start modestly and expand onward.
you have a new product, the patent is lined up, and the market research says it is going to be a huge hit with your target. To be the first to market, you and your management decide to hire a full-on sales team to get the ball rolling and get orders to start piling high. This sounds like a completely logical solution to maximize the situation. But, consider all the investment it will take to bring this sales team on, train them, manage them, and keep them motivated and in-line with your vision of the company and product. Now consider this same scenario, but you take the time to identify the best sales person of the bunch and hire that one person. This person pilots your sales for a couple months, becomes an expert at the job, then is poised to be the best sales manager you could ever find. Not only that, but you have a benchmark for what successful sales look like with the numbers gathered from your expert. The new sales manager can be instrumental in the hiring of just enough others to meet the current goals of the company.
I understand that not every company’s needs can be met through my long-winded, hypothetical situations. As such, I will wrap-up this week’s piece with some advice on building and maintaining successful teams (in list format).
- Always communicate the end goal: Many teams fall apart the minute they break to do individual work. People forget why they came together in the first place and time can be wasted not moving toward the goal. I personally praise the SCRUM methodology for working collectively. This is a very intense method, best suited really for software development, but it can be modified to work for many types of teams and environments.
- Understand the needs of those on the team: In my 2 years of leadership consulting, the one thing that I saw affecting teams was the fact that the human element can get lost in the hustle and bustle of the work being done. Try not to forget that you are all people, and people have different needs and values. Some of us need reassurance of a good job or a pat on the back, others need space for themselves and an occasional check-up. Never overlook the needs of your team mates and try to identify those needs, whether through listening to them or by asking, “What can I do for you today?”
- Set people up for the win: This relates to treating people like people, in that everyone has different skills and things in which they do best. Recognizing this early in the team formation can lead to putting people in roles that they will best succeed. Never set someone up for failure, as your success relies on the team as a whole. Learn to recognize who the organized and timely people are, who the go-getters and action oriented people are, who the people persons are, and who are the bookworms and intellectuals. All personalities have skills that are associated with them, and the sooner you can recognize this and put everyone where they excel, the sooner your team will succeed.
- Know just a bit of organizational behavior theory: I know, this one sounds like I am advocating being an egg-head. Well, there are actually several things to be learned from even the most basic theories on organizational behavior. The one I am the biggest proponent of is Tuckman’s 5 stages of team development. If you can learn these stages and be able to recognize when your team is in each stage, it will make a world of difference working through any conflicts or difficulties you all may experience down the road.
-Bigger is not better: Finally, many of you can probably relate to this one from prior classroom or work experiences, but bigger teams are not better. The best rule of thumb I have ever heard is the “2 Pizza Rule.” This states that your team should be large enough to feed everyone with 2 pizzas. That can vary (especially if you work with a bunch of hyper-metabolic code monkeys) but it typically equates to 8 to 10 people on a team. Any bigger and communication gets more difficult, roles get skewed and responsibility is spread so thin that it is hard to hold anyone accountable.
So, let me stop while I am ahead. Congrats if you read all of this, you deserve a personal ‘thank you’ and a high five. I will continue this series next week and refine my writing. This is the first of many blog posts to come, so bear with me. Feel free to contact me directly with any feedback or questions (firstname.lastname@example.org, @brandon_d_logan)
Until next time…
My name is Matthew Forsythe and I am a recent graduate of Ohio University and the newest employee of Cremedia Productions. I have always had a passion for sales and marketing, especially the psychology behind purchasing habits. I picked up traditional marketing concepts in many classes, but I was not instructed on how to implement them with current technology. It was not until my final quarter when I took Internet Marketing with John Sammon that I learned to mesh traditional concepts with the newest ideas. Before this class I had heard of social media marketing, but I was lacking a firm understanding. The class immediately grabbed my attention; all of it made sense. Social media finally allows marketers to target only people who would care about the product they are promoting. No more census research and mass-blasting, just efficient targeting that can generate 2-way communication. It seems that as these marketing tools become stronger, spam or inaccurate advertising will be a thing of the past.
Anyways, back to the company…
About midway through this class I opened up communications with Cremedia Productions and expressed my interest in being a part of the company. They wanted a new marketing direction, and I knew I could provide one. I attended weekly meetings and became familiar with the clientele and the feel of the company. Soon we were asked to be in charge of the media coverage of 9FEST. After this initial prompt we took over the production of the #FEST documentary, logo, and website design.
So began my first social media marketing campaign. Details and results will come next Monday.
Linked In: linkedin.com/in/mattsforsythe
“Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising”
About half the 9Fest production team with Chip Tha Ripper and his loyal subject, Jameson
There is a lot of crazy happenings going on this summer. From the depths of the CreMlab, the CreMlins have heard rumors of some dude winning an NBA championship, 2 preteen rappers fighting over their crushes in a strip club, and even of the rise of a legend named “RMoney?” Point is, we wouldn’t know being locked down in one of the more challenging and awesome projects we have ever embarked on.
Since late April, our team has been delving into the history of the most badass beer-drinking bash in the US, started by one of Ohio University’s own Dominic Petrozzi. An entrepreneur at heart, this dude has overcome much to create this amazing legacy at the University that provides the student’s with hangovers and the town (and various charitables organizations) a little early summer dough.
This project itself, just likes Dom’s experiences, have thrown incredible hurdles that have helped to hurl our team into the ranks of the professional media world. With both Eric and Pat heading out West after graduation, the team became very small as the responsibilities began to mount. With our new member Matthew Forsythe tackling the new social media and marketing efforts of the #FEST brand, Kyle and Brandon were left to develop the entire brand, as well as the website and video graphics, while I was left to finish the trailer and entire documentary edit on my own with the help of our remaining intern Austin Day.
However as CreMedia has always done, we have put our noses to the grindstone and pressed on. Yeah it sucks having to miss out on Ohio Brew Week, yeah it sucks not getting to see family and friends as often as we would like, but when this project is over, not only will it be our greatest accomplishment yet, that brew week beer and some rest will feel better than it ever has. Then again, I get to listen to great music and chop up some glorious “footy” everyday so I can’t even complain. We can’t wait to show you what we have brewing but for now check out the landing page and the trailer for #Fest: The Documentary at www.TheNumberFest.com.
This article is written by Rebecca Koch, a graduating advertising student at Ohio University.
Since its founding in 2005, YouTube has revolutionized how people view, share and comment on video while also positioning itself as an integral part of the online experience. With nearly one million people taking social action via likes, comments and shares each day, YouTube has become an important asset to any business that can benefit from a YouTube channel. With over 4 billion views per day, YouTube is a great way companies can target, reach and gain new customers. If your company does not have a YouTube channel, chances are you can benefit greatly from creating one and continually updating content. Here’s why.
Cost vs. Payoff
Companies have multiple options when taking their content online in video form. It is free to create a YouTube account and to host your own channel. This alone is a great way for businesses to build an online presence that is constantly updated and informative in a more interactive way than simply having a pretty company website. There are also options to host a branded channel with a cost. Either option is great for companies because YouTube offers an outlet where informative, fun, and new or old videos can all be stored and viewed at any time.
Unique vs. Usual
While Facebook, Twitter and company websites offer metrics to track the interaction, engagement and reach of the site and its message, YouTube channels offer a unique unifying element to all social media sites. With 500 years of YouTube videos watched every day on Facebook, and over 700 YouTube videos shared on Twitter each minute, companies can reach a larger audience while continuing to drive traffic to any of these social media sites. As mentioned earlier, video is a large proponent of a consumers online experience, and offering more visual elements than just text and information increases the true reach of the marketing efforts. It also allows companies to separate themselves from competition with strategic branding considerations.
Views vs. Viral
There is a distinct difference between being viewed online and going viral. Video plays a large role in the virility of content simply because it is so widely shared on the internet. In order to go viral, content must be easy to share and interesting in some way, whether that be funny, informative, scary or simply amazingly produced. This content also spreads like wildfire across the Internet, which dramatically improves traffic and awareness of any company.
For those of us in school, freshly out of school, or wandering Ohio, wondering what to do with your degree, internships are a pretty big deal…especially right now when jobs are harder to find than the TV remote. Businesses are also recognizing the significance of interns in the job market now more than ever. “You mean we can hire these people, make them do our work, and DON’T HAVE TO PAY THEM?” At most places that is the case…that is also the case here. But work at CreMedia doesn’t mean filing papers or getting coffee. Our interns were given cameras, opportunities to edit and supervision from a very talented group of greezers.
We forced them to write papers for us about their experience and after endless bureaucracy, I got a hold of them and took out the best parts for this week’s Spanish Pause.
My life has been a rollercoaster to say the least, as most of ours probably have by the time we’re 22. For some people, life is about trying to find themselves and what they want to spend the rest of their lives doing. I can honestly say I think I found myself at an early age and now it’s more about creating that person I found.
In the past two years I’ve tried two different majors but found myself not at ease with spending the rest of my life in that field, it’s hard to be passionate about something you’re not passionate about. Then I came to OU and met the Cremedia Gang and I can honestly say that at that moment I finally believed the phrase “everything happens for a reason.” Not only did I meet a group of greezers crazy about hip hop music, but who also loved filming and writing about it just as much!
For the most part we grow up thinking that only money brings success, so that’s what I based the beginning of my college career trying to figure out how to get. Meeting this small group of guys that love what they do showed me something different. Success is in no way the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success.
If you love what you’re doing, you will be successful.
When I came to Ohio University last year, I realized that music videos and visual promotion (such as graphics, album covers, photography, etc.) were my calling. I spent days just staring at music videos, hoping I’d be able to get into that field.
I remember telling Max that I learned more about my DSLR camera in one session of office hours than I learned in the whole summer that I owned it. Another day of office hours taught me the basics of Final Cut Pro 7 right before I was going to take a test on it in my Intro to Video Production class (and I kicked some greezy ass!). Little things like data management, transcribing interview footage, and lighting for interviews also were notable lessons from CreMedia that I took to heart. Plus it was really humbling to be a part of the projects, even if they seemed like small roles to most people (when I transcribed Dom Kennedy’s interview footage, I may have sh*t myself). The lessons learned have been crucial to me, and sometimes I still wish I could have been more involved, but I’m still grateful for the times that I have been involved.
It was one of the only places where one could be professional and greezy at the same time… for that matter it was the only place where I could use the word “greeze,” which has now become embedded in my own vocabulary.
I congratulate the CreM Team for all they’ve done. As a huge hip hop head, I was awestruck when I saw a couple of their videos on 2dopeboyz.com (one of my first go-to sites when it comes to hip hop music) and karmaloop.com, too. I wish all of the CreMedia family the best for their future endeavors and I hope to work with them again!
Since I was used to shooting journalism projects it was a challenge to learn how to shoot in a style that can work with CreMedia. I learned a lot from Pat on how I should be approaching shoots. He definitely gave me a lot of great advice. I feel more comfortable shooting live music or a music video now, but at the time it was a bit overwhelming to jump into these things. You all helped me face these challenges and gave help when needed.
Working on the Fly Union shoot was awesome! Being able to tell a story that involves hanging out of the back of a truck with a crane, shooting a sweet car is definitely a plus. One project I really enjoyed and wish I could do more of was hanging with Jean P backstage at the fashion show. I wish I could of gotten to do some more shoots like that one. It’s great to have so much free reign and just document someone while they are hanging around. You were all very easy to work with; you guys understand team collaboration and have a blast while on a project.
Working with CreMedia has been an enjoyable learning experience this past winter quarter. Getting to see how things were run behind the scenes, as well as preproduction and planning, was interesting to me even if it was a small part. Some of the smaller details I learned from Max and Kyle, I will definitely remember and be able to build off of in my future work. Some of these tips, tricks, and tools I learned to use were small little things right under my nose, which some teachers or schools I feel could never teach. Learning from peers and working with determined media makers is exactly what I was looking for. I thought I was a nerd with the multiple all nighters editing away, until I met Max. It really helps and keeps the drive alive when others around you are just as motivated to get things done.
Learning new lenses with the 7d was huge for me, as it’s a foreign language when people start talking sizes with lenses. Hands on use with these really helped me learn a lot about them. I feel CreMedia has opened the doors even wider for me, and look forward to building off this quarter for more opportunities with CreMedia!
These ten weeks went by rather fast. With so many projects to do between my Media 240 class and this internship, I was always busy. However, sometimes I got caught up in my class more than this internship, which is unfortunate because of all that the Crems have done for me. I learned so much in office hours that will benefit me in the long run and I have developed skills that I know will be key in my career path. Looking back on this experience as a whole I can definitely say that it was great. Though there were a few rough edges, I learned many things that I have already used outside the internship, plus all the staff was very kind, understanding, and helpful.
I’m positive this company will be a contact of mine for a long time in life as well. Everyone was awesome and made me feel like I was part of the team. It really means a lot when you trust someone with a lot of responsibility on a project, and although our CreM 48-Hour Shootout team didn’t end up happening I would have loved to direct it.
This company has been nothing but good for me. All the bumpy parts of my path are just learning experiences, and I know they feel the same way. I learned so much from this company and I hope to stick around and keep learning more. One day I’d like to even step up and take on a bigger role in a production. Until then, have a CreMulous day.