Is the way that you or your agency team members work actually the most productive and effective? What would happen if your team had a deeper connection and commitment to each other?

For more information about Drew McLellan or Agency Management Institute – visit http://www.agencymanagementinstitute.com or check out the podcast – Build A Better Agency available at all the usual podcast host locations.

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Hey, everybody. Drew McLellan from Agency Management Institute. This week, I am coming to you from Chengdu, China. One of the things that I find fascinating about this city, is it’s a huge city, over eight million people live here, and yet, all across China, it is known as the city of leisure. And the reason why it’s known as the city of leisure, is because of their work pattern. So, in Chengdu, you would go to work between nine and 10 o’clock in the morning, and you would wrap up between two and three o’clock in the afternoon. And the reason why, is not because you’re rushing home, but because you’re going to spend the next two to three hours in a tea house, drinking tea, eating some sweets, playing Mahjong, and hanging out with your coworkers and your friends. And when I asked about the productivity of those workers, what I heard over and over again from many different people, is that they believe that it is the fact that they wrap up at two or three and then they socialize for a couple hours, that makes them so productive. That when you have a bond with your coworkers, you are less likely to shirk your responsibilities, to not do your best work, to leave someone else hanging, to shirk your duties. So, they believe that this pattern, this short workday followed by an almost mandatory, although it’s not mandatory, hangout together a couple hours is what creates the connections inside the businesses that allow them to serve their customers very well, but also to serve each other very well. I am not suggesting that you move to a nine to two workday, so don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that. But, I do think there’s something interesting in this idea of the socialization creating a better bond between coworkers. We know that our employees value our culture. We know that one of the reasons why someone stays or leaves an agency, is because of the culture, because of the relationships they have inside that agency. We also know that when we get going, and things are crazy busy, it’s easy to let that slide, it’s easy to stop planning the social activities, it’s easy to let the fun committee quiet down. Many agency owners plan events outside of work hours. And then are frustrated that their employees don’t want to attend those events. Well, I think the culture is shifting, and what our employees are saying to us, loud and clear, is I will work hard when I’m at work, but I have obligations and I want to get out of work at five o’clock or six o’clock, whatever time is time for me to go. So, if we’re going to do social things, they need to be packed inside the workday. And I’ve seen a lot of agencies plan activities, whether it’s a volunteer event, whether it’s a potluck, whether it’s tied around a holiday like Cinco de Mayo, whether it is something that the fun committee plans, like, we’re going to take a long lunch and go to a museum or go to see a new animated film. Those kind of events, especially when they happen inside the workday, there’s something about getting time off during the workday that makes it feel even better, that makes it feel almost like we’re doing something against the rules and we’re being a little bad, which, everybody wants to be a little bad, right? So, our employees love the fact that we allow them to socialize. They also love the fact that we allow them to do it during the workday, so that we’re not asking them to give up their personal time. But what we as agency owners should love, is the result of that. The fact that by allowing our team to create these social bonds, just like they do here in Chengdu over Mahjong, they, too, will serve each other better and serve our clients better. So, if it’s been a while since you’ve had an outing, or a fun event inside your agency, maybe it’s time to plan something, and allow your people to create that connection. All right, I’ll be back next week. Talk to you soon.

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