It has been a week. A week in a month in a year for which not everyone wants to give thanks. But Jess and I are inviting the spirit of cooperation to a place at our Thanksgiving table (in the hopes that it will seep into the rest of our lives, too).
 
Cooperation seems easy, but it can be hard even for the best of friends. When Jess and I became colleagues, we saw right away (and over time) that we came to our tasks with different personalities, different ideas, and different strategies.
 
But we believed—and still believe—that we’re stronger together, so we have a vested interest in learning how to bend ourselves to our common goals. Below are five strategies that make working together work.

1. Communicate: It’s easy to assume your colleagues share your views—about big stuff, like what drives you and your commitment to the work—and small stuff, like what does (and doesn’t) belong on Facebook. Don’t assume. Instead, integrate twice-weekly check-ins with your team, and use an agenda to keep yourself on track.

2. Write Your Guide: Sure, it’s easy to make fun of a vision board. But you need to capture the spirit of what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Work with your team on a manifesto, a position statement, or, yes, a vision board. Your guide is your…guide—it will determine the shape of your work.

3. State Your Goals: Don’t let business happen to you! Take control by taking an active role in driving growth. Committing to short- and long-term goals helps you and your team define success in specific and realizable terms. Bring those goals out at every turn to gauge your growth and remind your team how success can be achieved.

4. Keep a Team Calendar: A calendar may look like an isolating cage of to-dos, but it’s actually the easiest way to focus only on the one thing you need to complete right now. A team calendar can also help to clarify roles and responsibilities and ensure accountability. Teach yourself to rely on its wisdom.

5. Celebrate: A team that celebrates reaching small goals together will be a team that celebrates reaching bigger goals, too. In every calendar, make room to raise a glass to toast a team that works on working together.

Happy Thanksgiving, readers. We are thankful for you.

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Over the past three years, we’ve worked with Rick Hill, founder of J. Richard Hill and Company, on projects, proposals, and social media communications. Rick’s materials are usually complex and multi-faceted: he needs to speak to his client, but he also needs to speak to his client’s clients. We work with Rick to challenge the presentation of his ideas and to ensure that he clearly and consistently delivers an on-brand message. Read below for more on how Rick communicates the big picture:
 
Tell us about what you do, Rick.
I create experiential destinations and revitalize urban districts. I believe the built marketplace enhances community and enriches people’s lives.
 
Who are your clients?
My ideal client is the owner of a great real estate site who needs big ideas. Many of my clients are in fact real estate brokers with little vision, or architects or land planners who are uninformed or in over their head.
 
How do you connect with these clients?
I tell stories. I tell stories about the history of main streets, world fairs, malls, and theme parks. I tell stories about how the marketplace has changed and how it will continue to change. I tell stories about ways to integrate art, cultural production, and entertainment into the built marketplace.
 
What’s the most effective way to tell these stories?
I produce 150-page long-form strategic plans. I find that writing the plan out in long form forces deliberation, filtering, and the cross pollination of ideas.
 
It’s time consuming, but I have had zero success allowing typical public relation firms or marketing firms write content. Their work is always uninformed, naïve, and not original. I do not think these firms can learn what I have spent 40 years learning—I live this business 7 days a week.
 
Tell us about your vision for your business’s future
I have a long history of pioneering highly transformative concepts. I am looking ahead to building my own brand as a creative innovator and expanding my services to provide branding, positioning, design management, idea generation, merchandising strategies, market research, strategic planning, financial modeling, and management of merchant recruitment. Ultimately, I see myself as a producer working with a specialized team to create the big picture.

Thanks, Rick! We’re here to help you keep telling your stories!