Way back in 1597, the philosopher Sir Francis Bacon remarked, "Knowledge is power." But in today's world of rapid communication and dissemination of information, we might add that it is actually the sharing of knowledge that really cuts it in the power department.
And that's true in all areas of life, but especially so in commercial enterprise. Certainly, in our world of branding and marketing, we all know how crucial it is to share knowledge and information among colleagues and teams.
It's no accident that we work in open-plan offices these days, an environment that supports the sharing of ideas, teamwork, and collective creativity. The late Steve Jobs designed his Pixar offices around a central atrium where colleagues could meet casually and talk about their work. Previously, each department had kept to itself in different parts of the building. Jobs saw the huge potential in creating an environment that "promoted encounters and unplanned collaborations."
Of course, that's fine if your marketing team is centered on one floor in a single building. But how do you promote the values and advantages of unity when you have marketers working in different locations and time zones across the world?
1. Encourage a 'one team' ethos
Psychology plays a vital role in any team activity. In the context of sport, of course it's easier to engender the values of team building because the squad trains and performs together physically. However, similar principles of psychology can still be applied to disparate marketing teams working in different countries.
The key lies in developing a "one team" ethos that values everyone as a member of one team regardless of where he or she might be in the world. Encourage communication and interaction among colleagues in different locations. Share news of successes and applaud the collective results of team endeavor and hard work.
If people perceive themselves as valued members of the team, results will follow in the form of positive connections—even cross-border friendships—and a boost in collective morale.
Jens Lundgaard is founder and chief executive officer of Brandworkz, a UK-based provider of brand management software and project implementation consultancy.