You Win the World Cup Because You Use Every Player in the Squad

by Jon Goulding Atomic

Atomic London explains why it’s important to keep your staff are on side and make sure that the whole team is pulling in the same direction.

It’s a subject that hasn’t been spoken about by agency leaders. But it’s something the majority of the people reading this have had to do, or something that they have, at least, been affected by.

At Atomic — and this is true of most agencies — we’ve seen clients hit pause on their marketing spend. In this climate, that’s understandable. And when those clients have stopped spending, we’ve had to make tough decisions ourselves. We’ve had to put some of our staff on furlough leave, which means their work has stopped for the short term.

Times like these call for responsible decision-making from everyone. This is never truer than when it comes to agency leaders making decisions about looking after their teams.

Your team is by far the most important factor in your success as an agency. Without the talent coming together as one, united by one belief system and as part of one culture, you have nothing. Keeping the team together to the best of your ability is surely the most important thing you can do.

Sports analogies can be overused, but in this instance, one feels appropriate. If you look at any consistently successful team—not just one that has won a freak competition, but one that has won over the long-term, regardless of the circumstances — it doesn’t draw its strength from having the best starting line-up. It wins because it has the strongest squad, and that squad is united in one belief.

It is your squad that gets you through the fatigue and the injuries and those moments when you have to dig deep. That’s why, when all is said and done, every single squad member gets a winner’s medal — not just those who played the last 30 minutes of a given game.

It’s no different in an agency. If the whole squad does not pull in the same direction, it won’t succeed.

Sometimes, things test the team’s morale. In those times, there’s extreme pressure to keep that morale high, and make sure everyone stays motivated and committed to the cause. With everything going on at the moment, now is certainly one of those times. In a perfect world, I would not have put anyone on furlough this week. But sometimes you have to make hard decisions to ensure future success, and the overall well-being of your team.

No player wants to miss a World Cup match. But if there is more to play for in the matches ahead, then the responsible decision is to use the squad intelligently and conserve the energy of certain players for when you need them most.

But that doesn’t change the fact that this is going to be difficult for the individuals in question. Moments like these conjure up all sorts of feelings and thoughts. That’s natural.

As agency leaders we have a duty to wrap our arms around every single person in our squad — though not literally, of course—and ensure that their spirits are kept up.

So yes, these are difficult times for everyone. But we will get through them. What we have to remember is that the strongest squad always wins. Look after yours.