Let’s imagine: You and your team are gathered around a table. Sitting with you are your new partners, ready to dive into a workshop. This is a big moment, and every single person around the room has important experience and goals to bring forward. Everything that happens today is going to inform the way your organization presents itself to the world in the future.Does this sound familiar? In every project I have been a part of, the intensive workshops at the beginning are where we set the tone for all parts moving forward. The question is: How do we keep that intensity throughout, and get the most out of the project? In my time working with mission-driven organizations, there are three hard and fast rules which govern the success of any project. There are always unique challenges, but if we keep these three items top of mind the whole team will be able to navigate them fluidly and productively.
1. Tell us who to talk toEvery single organization has a very specific way of doing things. What I mean here is that there is always an intricate structure of people making decisions, contracting processes, programmatic interplay, and third-party consultants who will be a part of the project. We don’t want to continue our momentum from the workshop only to find out three weeks too late that a consultant or board member is unhappy AND has veto power. Point us in the right direction and we can do the rest.
2. If you see something, say somethingOnce initial workshops are over, it is crucial to keep the same excitement running throughout. It is very easy to get lost in the pace of many projects and feel uneasy. I can promise that no agency personnel can read minds. If you feel like you’ve lost track of the process, hit pause and ask “why?” We do what we do because we’re passionate about it, and that means we LOVE to take the chance to describe what we’re doing. Once you feel comfortable, then we can move forward.
3. Remember that we’re in this togetherWhen you hire an agency, it typically isn’t just because of their proposal and it’s amazing production quality. You hire an agency because you like them. You can talk to them and you trust that they know what you want and that they truly care about your mission. We didn’t get into this to sell Mountain Dew and Chevy, we work here because we want to make a difference and support those with the same vision. I had one of our clients tell us that they were looking for a “true partner.” To me, that means we have the people and experience to augment their team, not act as a vendor to the organization.
In ConclusionAt the end of the day, organizations get the most out of their agency partners through positive and constant communication. Don’t play games, talk through any issues. Don’t let your concerns go unanswered, be upfront and blunt. Don’t think of your partners as vendors, think of them as a teammate with a different set of skills. We want every project to exceed expectations, and we’re here to work with you to make sure it does.
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