Lately I've been thinking about the successful generation and implementation of new ideas here at AH. Our teams constantly collaborate and share ideas across all departments and teams which, we would all agree, contribute to the intellectual diversity at our company. These contributions often lead to key components of programs and projects. For example, we recently launched the ASAE Certificate Program in Association Management and as such came up with a graphic treatment to use on our collateral materials. The final graphic, which can be seen below, was the result of input from several team members, and not just restricted to Marketing/Communications or traditional creative teams (web, design, etc.).
This exchange led me to think about the significance of cross-team collaboration and individual contribution beyond what we often consider to be a byproduct of knowledge sharing -- a term that is used frequently to describe a core ingredient to our business model. In my opinion it has to do with a key component of our company's culture: an environment of trust and our ability to hire the right people through a tiered hiring process.
Hiring – if you were to look at our 162 person staff, you would see some very creative and diverse individuals. We’ve got Mummers, published authors and professional musicians. This does not happen by accident. Rather, it happens by casting a wide net during the selection process as well as a commitment to a tiered interview experience, one that involves a number of different departments. The purpose of this process is to hire thoughtful, kind, and diverse individuals. This process culminates in a final interview with the president, who interviews every single employee at AH before the final “okay” is given.
Once the candidate has been hired, they are set free to execute their jobs and responsibilities with an incredible amount of freedom. The result of this, and what lies beneath the surface, is an environment of trust and respect among colleagues that allows for the effective flow of knowledge exchange.
Why is this important? It’s important because this environment allows everyone to participate in, and contribute to, an intellectually diverse environment that breeds creativity.
At AH, it isn’t uncommon that a request for engagement from our president, an executive director, a member of our meetings team, or anyone else is not considered to be an assignment or an inconvenience. These requests are met with energy and passion because each individual feels empowered, able to freely contribute their ideas to any given project. In the end, the team feels as if they are part of a larger group of interconnected thought leaders who collectively participate in a safe and creative environment.