“A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea. For millions of years, human beings have been part of one tribe or another. A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate.” ― Seth Godin, “Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us”
A lot of agencies in our industry pay lip service to culture, but very few consciously cultivate it. Here at quench, we have a group dedicated to fostering an environment of ongoing surprise, delight and celebration. And we’re not talking about the obligatory birthday cake or “wear a Hawaiian shirt to work” day, either.
Over the last year, we’ve created events that help transform the routine workday while building our own tribal interconnections. Sometimes these events are culturally based, such as "Star Wars" Day or Batman Day. (During the latter, many of my colleagues wore masks and capes as we ate ill-formed bat cupcakes and raffled off Batman-themed goodies.) Other events are simply designed to celebrate individuals. For example, we gently teased Leandra and Raven — two of our quietest and most introverted ladies — with a poster announcing a fictitious Introvert Hour to which the majority of the agency was not invited.
In June last year, we launched our inaugural agency regatta — a madcap, waterlogged paper boat race down a nearby culvert, an event that created a shared memory of purely nonsensical fun. Participants prototyped, designed and tested their crafts for weeks in advance, although the winner turned out to be a modest paper football christened, "HMS Natty Ice."
This St. Patty’s day, we held a leprechaun-ish hunt for actual gold, complete with cryptic clues. The final hiding place? Concealed within the very poster that announced the event.
Interns, in particular, are singled out for [forced] participation. In the past, we’ve mandated that they make omelets for the entire agency and duel each other in a lollipop-licking event (with the flavors including Sriracha, breast milk and blue cheese).
While much of what we do might sound frivolous to some, it’s essential to our tribe. It builds a common language, fosters creativity and crafts an environment where anything can happen. We like to believe that culture ultimately shows up in everything we do.
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