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A New Team Member As the Old Year Goes

And you thought it was the Year of the Snake

2013 was a year of growth and change for Mack Web Solutions. (Uh, as was 2012. And, y’know, 2011).

Okay, so the past few years have pretty much been all about the growth and the change. But this year the growth and change took a particular shape. And it was a person-shaped shape. (Bet you thought it was gonna be a llama, hunh?).

Hipster-llama-l

2013 was the year of personnel. We started the year with a four-person team. By the end of the year, we had employed (at various times) nine. We’re starting 2014 with six and a solid six it is.

But that’s still a lot of change.

Fluctuating and unashamed

The thing is, we don’t take all these changes as a sign of weakness or failure on our part. Instead, they’re proof that our company is evolving. We’re constantly assessing and reassessing the best ways to serve our clients and as we gain greater understanding, we reshape the team to suit.

And you never quite know how someone is going to fit until you try them out. We agree with the philosophy of looking for the “future perfect people”– choosing people based on who they have the potential to become and how they could allow your team to grow — but we’re web marketers, not prognosticators. We don’t have a crystal ball to gaze into or tea leaves to consult.

Prognosticator Extraordinaire

So we give people a try and when their future diverges from ours we give them a hearty send-off and count it a stage of evolution rather than a mistake.

Small but mighty

The thing about a small company in a fast-moving industry is that you need your team to work together seamlessly and you can’t afford to wallow when something goes wrong. No fences between departments and no divas of any kind.

You need to be lean and agile and T-shaped and all those other lovely concepts that boil down to this: stockpile as much knowledge as you can without sacrificing your ability to adapt and respond.

t-shape-employee

Image Credit: Distilled

Which means that every time we are ready to bring someone new onto the team we stop and do one of those reassessments to tell us what we need.

If the new hire is the result of someone else leaving, we stop and think: do we need to replace them or is there some other skill set we should be looking for?

If we’re simply ready to grow, we stop and think: where is our team strong? Where do we have good overlap? Are we serving our clients to the degree we promise and aspire? Where are the gaps? What weak points do we need to shore up?

Sometimes when we ask these questions, the answers surprise us.

(And not just become some anonymous joker on the team who shall remain anonymous and absolutely is not me feels the need to answer every question with a cryptic, “42”).

Building the team

‘Cuz here’s the thing about our team: we’ve got some crazy mad skills already. You want to talk about your cross-discipline competence and deep discipline expertise? We’ve got that.

A genius designer with basic tech chops and a social media expert with a nice line in content and a creative strategist with analytics know-how. An entrepreneurial leader who dabbles in everything and writer who can hold her own with basic SEO and strategy. (And a partridge in a pear tree).

We are all kinds of T-shaped.

Not to mention…we all actually like each other. What are the odds?

All of which sets us on track to our company vision of a team of collaborative specialists without sacrificing our small team necessity of hybrid generalists who can roll up their sleeves and get stuff done, y’know?

But did you notice what was missing from that impressive list of skills?

Because when it came time to hire someone new and we compiled that list of skills, we saw something missing and it was a big something.

We’ve got creatives and number people and business minds and networkers. You know what we haven’t got?

They Got Every Damn Thing

Organizers.

Oh, at first glance you wouldn’t notice the chaos. We were holding our own thanks to our process-obsessed boss (and we mean that in the most complimentary of ways).

But, well…we said 2013 was the year of change and growth, right? Well, we’ve covered the change. But without some glue to hold us together, we weren’t going to be able to handle much more growth.

Because our processes were working for now but they weren’t particularly scalable.

So we realized it wasn’t another strategist we needed.

It was a coordinator.

Introducing Rebecca

Fortunately, we knew just the person. Rebecca Gilmore’s impressive experience and disposition pretty much custom-tailored her to our needs.

rebecca_crop1

She’s organized and disciplined and marketing-savvy and friendly and smart and pretty. (Plus she has impeccable taste in television, she isn’t afraid of the Master Calendar, and she has a twin sister we can set up as a body double alibi in case we ever need her to do anything illegal).

And if she might harbor some thoughts on world domination and hostile takeovers from within, well…we still outnumber her five to one.

Here comes trouble

Long story short (too late, I know)

All of which is to say…we’re delighted to introduce you to Rebecca Gilmore, our new Account Coordinator. Her job is to keep us all on track, to make sure our beloved clients are never lost in the shuffle, and to contribute her knowledge and expertise to the running of the team.

We’re pretty happy to have her and we’re excited for all of you people, too.

Because you’re going to get to know her too.

And, take it from us, that makes you pretty fortunate people.

Author Courtney Brown

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