Teamwork Makes the DREAM Work…

Corporate culture is a nebulous concept that can make or break a working atmosphere.

At Midan Marketing, principals Danette and Michael provide the framework for our culture by clearly sharing their business values and priorities. They work hard to build a cohesive team whose members positively encourage and challenge each other.

But company leaders can only provide a loose structure for a successful culture; it’s up to the team to build on that foundation.

To flesh out the cultural skeleton, it is up to us to buy in to the company values and mission and adopt them as their own.

At Midan, our culture is driven by passion – for meat, for team, for families, for growth. Of course, our passion for meat is forefront, but our passion for team generates open communication and trust in each other to excel in our areas of expertise. We work hard, but we have fun together and encourage each other to produce exceptional results.

We are also passionate about our families, and are fortunate that the Midan culture supports a healthy work/life balance. Midan principals recognize that family and personal life cannot always be contained in the hours before and after work, and they have encouraged a culture of flexibility to find ways to help with those needs.

At Midan, team members are encouraged to have interests outside of work. These interests help our staff bring unique perspectives and new ideas to the table that benefit team members and clients.

And while Midan has a single over-arching culture, there are many subcultures in play. These subcultures come from having two key offices in geographically-diverse areas and a few remote offices. Other subcultures are departmental. Each individual team — Creative Communications, Market Research, Account Management, and Administration — works and interacts differently. This doesn’t even touch on the myriad of cultural goodies we all bring from our personal lives! While we all share similar values and a passion for our work, we work to achieve Midan’s vision from different points of view.

I think it is very important to make the distinction between culture and environment. Culture has nothing to do with environment. Game days, ice cream outings and office parties are fun, but they are part of the company environment, not the company’s culture. They are the perks of a culture that values its team members.

Although Midan’s values and mission are defined and a cohesive team is in place, we realize that our culture is not static. In fact, it’s very messy. Every time a new team member joins us, the culture changes. Every time a new client is acquired, the culture changes. And when a key or long-term staff member leaves, the cultural balance is upset and it takes a while for the culture to mend and regain its balance.

So the next time we find ourselves thinking that everything is changing, let’s think about our cultural framework. Chances are that the loose structure is still the same, and it’s up to us to continue to develop and support the culture with the new building blocks we are given.

Mastering the Art of Work and Life

Do you have those awful nightmares where everything is going wrong that could possibly go wrong at your job? I’m here to let you know, you aren’t alone. Just recently I had a dream I filled out all of my timesheets incorrectly and woke up in a cold sweat. Luckily for us, there is an easy fix to this anxiety: managing a healthy work-life balance.

The concept of a work-life balance has been a popular topic recently. Time  and Harvard Business Review have published articles on it in the last three months. Huffington Post has a tag on relevant articles dedicated to this topic, author Nigel Marsh presented a TED Talk about balancing work and life, even WebMD provides tips for a better work-life balance. So if this topic is so popular right now, then why do so many people still struggle to achieve this balance?

Here are my tips for successfully maintaining a work-life balance:

  1. Don’t take work home with you. This one may seem obvious, but it’s important. You need to create a separation between work and home. If the line between the two is blurry, then you are more likely to still be thinking about work long after the office doors close for the day. If you are part of the growing trend of people who work at home, designate a specific room or area of your house as your work space and don’t let your work leave those confines.
  2. Power down. Technology is great. It allows us to be connected 24/7 and has made a lot of things easier in the business world.  But being plugged in all of the time can keep you from focusing on the things important to you outside of work. I’m guilty of checking my work email way too frequently on the weekends, which typically leads to thinking about what I need to get accomplished during the upcoming week and keeps me from enjoying my down time.
  3. Do that thing you’ve been meaning to do. Go on a hike. Ride a tandem bicycle with your friends. Heck, take a bubble bath. Sometimes we get so caught up being busy we don’t take time to do things we enjoy. Personally, to help with this I’ve created a list of things I want to do or places nearby I want to visit, including museums, hiking trails and parks. By doing this, I get the satisfaction of doing something new for myself and I get to cross things off of a list – which helps me feel productive.
  4. Schedule down time. Okay, so you tried to follow steps 1-3, but you still can’t seem to pull yourself away from work. I understand, you’re just that important! Your time is a commodity and everyone wants a piece of you. Your calendar is booked with more meetings than the president of the United States. Try this: schedule down time in your calendar. No, you aren’t allowed to double book this time or cancel it. This may be difficult initially, but taking time for yourself can be very beneficial to achieving a nice work-life balance.

Now you may be asking yourself, “Why is having a balanced work-life so important?” You may enjoy being busy, staying focused and working hard, and that’s perfectly fine. However, focusing your attention on life outside of work will allow you to seek inspiration elsewhere and get your creative juices flowing. You will be more energized and focused on the task at hand when you walk in to your job, allowing you to work more efficiently.

How do you spend your 168?

We all have 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, totaling to 168 hours a week. How we choose to spend it is up to us.

The Midan Marketing team recently got together for our annual team meeting in Statesville, N.C. (Yay team go!). We discussed many topics, but the one that I was especially interested in was work/life balance and time management. [Read more…]