JUXT

What can others learn from the successes and failures of how your team was assembled and how it operates?: 

The team was assembled in response to growth, as well as a shift in direction and office location for the agency. As such, much of the team came onboard at the same time. From an organizational standpoint, the difficulty in this large hiring effort was the accurate prediction of the required groups within the team, and the necessity and definition of specific roles. Drawing on experience rather than analysis, management was able to assemble a team that was effective from the get-go. However, after monitoring the team’s process and function throughout several project phases provided data around effective and extraneous roles, as well as roles that required change in definition and requirements.

At level higher than this, internal group dynamics were observed and visibility was provided around which teams would need to grow more so than others. In response to this, some roles had to be adjusted, created, and in one case dissolved. This ultimately resulted in the growth and development of an exceptionally successful team.

Many companies spout the idea that personality is key driver in hiring. At JUXT, we truly stand behind this principle, and work to build the bonds within the present team while allocating significant effort in acquiring new additions that are not only a perfect fit in their professional capabilities, but in personality as well. During hiring interviews we’ve also stressed the need for employees to make JUXT the company they want it to be should they come on board. This type of employee-ownership has paid off extremely well for the office culture.

Our mantra is to "Create Today." In addition to working together, we make a point to explore, learn, and play together.  We leave the office for off-site adventures regularly; whether it be to museums, galleries, and interactive exhibits, or to the brewery or ball game.  These activities foster invaluable bonds between our team, and enable us to be engaged in both creating every day, and what we are creating every day.

What evidence supports your belief that your team is exceptionally effective?: 

As an anecdote, one afternoon we had a new business proposition to be hand delivered. The pitch was crafted in terms of content and presentation. While not all team members were directly involved in the effort, being a relatively small entity, this type of effort touches everyone to some degree. To ensure the pitch was out the door and delivered on time, the team pulled together to complete the assembly of the decks for presentation in true JUXT style with a dash of comedy, after which another team member physically ran it to its destination.

We have built a team that is willing to go the extra mile together. Almost unusually, our team is one where all members are fantastic people. It has been noted more than once how lucky we are to consider each team member not only a coworker, but also a friend where weekend and after-work outings are often planned. These bonds are not only within the project teams, but include management as well. Rarely is a team lead by management who are exceptionally capable, respected, accessible, and personable.

As with any team, there is hierarchy and structure, but it is understood that each team member is valid and integral, with their role’s individual focus and prerogatives, to our combined success. As with any business, there will be times where certain teams and individuals are under more pressure than others. If one of the JUXT team is especially swamped, the offer for assistance is always made and often accepted. That help is accepted from the team is a sign of mutual respect and confidence; this human regard for one another is what makes the JUXT team exceptional both in its work and output, as well as a place to work.

Quantitatively, this past year we not only achieved our targeted financial goal but also exceeded it. Our team has had numerous glowing comments from both clients and project partners regarding our work ethic and approach, performance, and team. We have fostered connections with clients that have resulted in repeat business and referrals. Our dedication to growing a solid, aligned team has enabled us to build connections with stakeholders who understand our approach and value our output, trusting us to propose and execute new ideas that push the envelope.

What aspects of how your team is organized and/or how it operates have most influenced its success?: 

The team’s foundation is mutual respect for each other not only as people, but as capable professionals. While there are organizational groups within the team – Operations, Client Services, Creative, Production, and Development – individuals expect to work both within their internal teams as well as interfacing between them.

The process we have developed to successfully complete our projects has evolved to ensure continual, constant communication between groups throughout the process; from planning and design to development and delivery. Facilitating this communication has enabled us to deliver successful projects under challenging timeframe circumstances.

How does your team adapt to respond to changing requirements, projects, and clients?: 

Key members responsible for driving projects communicate with all project teams and the organization as a whole often and openly. Whether changes are certain or not, information about potential shifts is disseminated to the team as a whole early, often as soon as they are known about by production and management teams. Even the most sudden of changes usually have identifiable indicators. By relaying not only concrete facts, but also discussing the ‘pulse’ of current projects, the team is able to prepare for and adapt to changes in scope or direction mid-project. This clarity of process and expectations means that surprises and challenges are overcome with relative ease, and minimal disruption and waste.

How do you ensure your team remains successful even as members leave the team and new ones join?: 

At a high level, talent losses and acquisitions are dealt with through comprehensive analysis of current and pipeline workloads for the team. This enables long-range insight into the requirements for the team as a whole, and enables the appropriate team members to be placed on any given project team and effective resourcing of all members. This approach also allows indicates the need for contractors and new hires.

The effectiveness of our team is supported by the engagement of contract staff in specialist or support roles. Building connections with a number of trusted contract staff enables us to respond to changes in circumstance quickly and effectively without having to make ‘emergency hires’, giving us the time necessary to analyze and vet potential additions to our team. Hiring for the team is undertaken thoughtfully and is an intensive process. To ensure the best people - both in terms of professional skill and team fit - join the team, the candidates are vetted in detail not only to ensure quality of work, but to seek out personalities that are most integrative with the current team and those that will drive the team in the direction it would like to grow.

Conversely, this approach means that we have successfully retained talent rather than dealing with significant losses to the team and have been able to counter any resource and skill deficits through strategic allocation of team members supported by a trusted contract pool.

How does your team manage its interactions with stakeholders and, where applicable, with other teams involved in the design and execution of products or services?: 

Clear, effective, and regular communication is held in high regard. Within the team, we facilitate regular conversations between project teams through a regular cadence of quick-fire check-ins coupled with more in-depth internal and external reviews. This has developed through the analysis of the team’s natural workflow over a number of projects, and is constantly being monitored for its applicability and effectiveness. Internally, all members are kept in the loop whether it be huddles in the office, or being copied on communications that may not directly require action from all members, but will influence their approach.

Externally, clients and project partners have clear channels of communication and a defined point of contact. This ensures that information and comments are fielded to appropriate team members on our end, and that their thoughts and concerns are heard and addressed effectively. While we have an appointed contact lead in these terms, the personality of our team is such that connections are fostered between stakeholders and various members of the team involved across the variety of organizational groups. The team members leading efforts for certain project elements are identified as such to clients, and are involved in discussions pertaining to their relevant areas. This ensures clarity of the project to key stakeholders and has been greatly appreciated by clients in the delivery of successful projects.

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