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6 Tips to Increase Your Team’s Agility

A good coach can be the difference in winning a championship and being in last place. Take for example the San Francisco Forty Niners. Last year they had a remarkable run, ending their season only one game shy of the Super Bowl. The interesting thing is that make up of Jim Harbaugh’s 2011 Niners was, for the most part, the same team that previous coach, Mike Singletary was unsuccessful with. However by bringing in new coach, with a new philosophy the team had massive successes. The point I’m trying to make here is that having the right coaching, and philosophy can make a substantial difference in having success and failure.

It’s no secret that to be successful today companies have to be able to act quickly. Learning how to deal with this new environment isn’t easy which is why, I wanted to share six tips from think with Google, that will certainly help improve your team’s overall agility and project success.

1. Physically (or Virtually) Co-Locate

You can never overestimate the power of creating a “virtual war-room” for projects. There’s a reason why we still use the old cliché “two heads are better than one.” The beautiful thing is that today’s technology allows this to be a possibility. From tools like GoToMeeting to Skype or Google Hangouts , it’s now easier than ever before to pull the entire team together to help drive towards your goal. Not only do these “war rooms “ help teams stay on track and increase communication, but also they dramatically help in breaking down dreaded departmental silos.

2. Add Technologists to the Creative Team

Today’s definition of a “creative” goes beyond the Mad Men-era partnership of art director and copywriter. It’s important to expand your team’s core skill set by including other individuals such as developers, digital experts, and freelance specialists as they will each bring in important views and commentary that might otherwise be overlooked. With technology playing such a significant role in our daily lives it’s important to include technologists in your creative team. Who knows, the creatives and the technologists might even just learn a thing or two.

3. Develop T-Shaped Talent

The idea of T-Shaped talent or T-Shaped skills is a metaphor used in job recruitment to describe the abilities of an individual. According to, T-shaped people “are those that not only have the strength of a specific domain area, but also a broad set of other domain skills too to collaborate and build things with others.” It’s important to try and seek out these types of individuals. Think of them as a utility man in baseball. They’re great to have because sure they understand and are really good at one position, but should the need arise they can sub in and be effective in other roles as well.

4. Get “Real-Time” Insights

There’s no question that the pace business gets done today has increased. We all know that, so why aren’t we taking advantage of it? Why wait to look at quarterly, monthly, or even weekly reports. There are tools in existence today that can help teams gather valuable data in real-time. Teams that stress real-time insights will be better suited to take advantage of sudden consumer or industry shifts. Instead of playing catch up they will be poised to take advantage of them.

5. Plan an Office “Idea-thon”

The idea of a Hackathon isn’t new. However instead of hosting a hackathon, try scheduling an Idea-thon. Take half a day and schedule a workshop that couples idea generation with real-time testing of market potential. Check out why AKQA’s Chief Creative Officer, Rei Inamoto, believes having these idea-thons are so critical to team success.

6. Iterate & Test Campaigns

The best plan isn’t to bet the farm on one or two major initiatives. Instead, teams should hedge their bets on lots of small, shorter, campaigns. By their very nature, they are less expensive to run, but more importantly they give teams the ability to quickly learn from them. Teams that adopt this strategy are able to quickly learn what works, what doesn’t and iterate and improve upon those campaigns.

There you have it. Why not give these six tips a shot. I’m sure that if you do, you’ll see your team become more agile and more successful. Who doesn’t want to go from having a .500 team to a 13-3 division champion?

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