Over the past five years or so, long-time search engine marketers with years of client work, speaking engagements, and expertise with all the various tools and techniques have found like-minded persons and grouped themselves into one company. Being part of one of those types of situations I now admire them more than ever. Were I asked what the ONE thing is that can make a gathering of one-time competitors survive as a company unit, I would say it’s Communication. It comes in many forms:
1. A blog with an editorial calendar. I write for one of the columns at Search Engine Land and am used to this setup. Every writer has an Editor and column due date. It’s strictly adhered to. It’s a professional web site and its writers are expected to act like professionals with well written copy and meeting their deadlines.
2. Repeat. Every company must have someone who kicks everyone’s ass. And, this ass-kicker must be fully aware of what’s going with the team to be sure they’re being fair with delegation, work share, and rewards. I’ve never worked well for a leader who breathes down everyone’s neck, making demands with no clear idea of all the particulars and who doesn’t connect with their team as the human beings there are. A good leader understands which members of their team works best under pressure (that would be me), who needs incentive, who needs extra time (but will deliver perfection) and who may be dealing with private issues that interfere with their work (in which case, it’s good to talk).
3. This is my own personal preference and not one that other companies or people share. I don’t like to burn bridges. I genuinely like my competitors as people. I honor their work. I admire them and their accomplishments. I remain open to staying connected to them via email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. If they ask for something I can give, I do.
4. Be out there. One of the other new marketing companies has a person in a leadership position who is active in Facebook by reaching out and asking random questions. I suspect the information comes in handy for understanding likes and dislikes as well as gaining insight into different demographics. I like the way they approach it as a regular conversation rather than a “Here we are, a big shot company asking you questions”. They appear approachable.
5. Team members have to play well together. These days, remote work is easy to do with Skype and IM. We can tell how we’re all doing by seeing a team mate’s Facebook status or whether or not our CEO has FourSquare’d her way to Wawa. Again. When someone is slacking off, we all know it, even though we’re not physically present to witness it.
Every company operates differently. Does your employer, or do you, find new interesting ways to keep everyone unified and getting along?
I’d love to hear them.