By Hayley Hendrickson, Account Coordinator
Openness is vital to the success of any interpersonal relationship, whether it’s in the home or workplace. Open communication allows individuals to build deeper emotional connections and feel a stronger sense of interconnectivity. When we’re able to share our views and differing opinions in an open, respectful manner, people begin to trust, value and care for each other — thus, enabling a positive environment in which one can consistently learn and grow.
Our fifth value, Openness, emphasizes that every individual — from CEO to intern, and everyone in between — can share their views and even disagree without hesitation.
Let’s take a closer look into how our Hoffmanites apply openness in their everyday engagements.
Kelly Trom, Senior Account Manager (U.S.)
When I think of openness, I think of transparency, honesty, and ultimately being open to new challenges. It’s imperative to be open with your teammates and clients to drive successful results. At the very beginning of any new task, open communication is critical to make sure that every team member and client is on the same page with expectations, realistic deadlines, etc. While working on the task, each individual must be open to new ways of thinking, working, and innovating to streamline processes, generate higher quality work, and go above and beyond client expectations.
As a senior account manager, I try to foster an open communication line with everyone on my teams to make sure they feel comfortable asking me questions, offering proactive ideas, and brainstorming new ways to do their work that may not have occurred to me before. This open communication is what allows us to be a better team overall and deliver stellar results for clients. From providing new suggestions for how we track coverage to drafting up high quality pitches on topics we’ve haven’t spent much time on before, the teams I work with are awesome at being open to innovating their own work as well as how we work as a team.
Nicolas Chan, Head of Digital (APAC)
To me, openness means listening more than talking. I think openness matters today more than ever, especially in a world that is so globalized, but fragmented. Openness contributes to our success as an agency as we frequently work across regions.
I was always more of a talker than a listener when I was younger, but as I learned how to manage a team, I quickly learned that listening beats any other quality when leading. The ability to be open to ideas is fundamentally critical to any consultant who wants to be in the fast-evolving digital space.
Michael StJohn-Bond, Senior Account Executive (EU)
Openness is about making sure no one’s left out of the discussion. The value is based on the freedom to express yourself and respecting others’ freedom to do the same. Being open with your colleagues is essential — especially in a creative industry like PR and comms. It gives the Hoffman team the confidence to bounce ideas off one another and think outside the box when telling our clients’ stories.
When consulting our clients on campaigns or media relations, openness is key to managing expectations and ensuring that we have all the materials we require. A close-knit bunch, our team consistently applies openness as we’re always open about our priorities, time, and capacity, to ensure no one is siloed or overworked.
Rachel Yang, Account Executive (U.S.)
Openness is the cornerstone of any strong relationship — both personal and professional. With this as a foundation, it means that we get to speak freely about our emotions and opinions, knowing we will be acknowledged. This openness creates trust between individuals of all levels, including superiors, associates, employers and employees. The transparency within Hoffman has attributed tremendously to our success, and it gives us a sense of pride to be a part of the agency.
During my time at Hoffman, I have pushed myself to try new things and be open to new ideas. When faced with challenges, I demonstrated openness by turning to my coworkers, seeking their advice and recommendations, understanding that they are always willing to listen and help. Managers have set a good example by leading internal communication, encouraging conversation and promoting this culture in the workplace, all of which serve us well when working with clients.
Isabelle Demaude, Account Director (APAC)
To me, openness has two meanings. First, it’s to be willing to accept and embrace ways of thinking, working and living that may be different from your “norm.” It is through openness that we broaden our horizons and our understanding of worlds outside our own. Openness is also about transparency — I’m a firm believer that honesty is the best policy and think it’s only by showing people how you’re working through things that you can all get on the same page. This value, in both senses of the word, is essential to the success of Hoffman, and indeed any agency.
For starters, it’s only with openness that you can achieve creativity — otherwise you’d always be thinking within the same box and same parameters. I also think you need openness to effectively communicate and collaborate as one team. I like my relationships with clients to be based on openness — where we create a safe space for ideas to be shared as they occur, and where we are happy to challenge and be challenged.
As a manager, I also like to take the time to walk my teams through my rationale when making certain decisions and push them to play Devil’s Advocate. We cannot move the needle if we always agree with one another — a good story needs some conflict (just maybe not the “throw your laptop out the window” kind). Hoffman is known as an agency full of “straight-shooters” — and I think that has to derive directly from our culture of openness. We are fortunate to have a team of people who are passionate to achieve the best they can for clients, and sometimes that means taking a step back to question their own thinking, being equally prepared to say “no,” or expanding their perspective.
Chauncey Hill, Creative Director (U.S.)
Openness means freedom and not being tied down to my own perceptions. Being open to new ideas and views from every coworker, vendor and client is important for success. Openness can keep my vision, focus and drive fresh. This is fundamental in problem-solving and with working relationships. Admittedly, applying openness in my everyday work can be challenging because sometimes, I just want to do what is reliable and comfortable to me. Fears, comfort, deadlines and payoff make it easy to keep blinders on. Sometimes it is uncomfortable to open yourself up to change and differences, but to counteract this, I try to take a second throughout the day just to check in with myself.
I also see this value in my teams. Each team member is unique in their experience and knowledge. I need to keep open and trust others to both communicate and listen effectively. I have learned that the more open I am to my coworkers, the easier it is to focus on work and the project at hand. Here at The Hoffman Agency, I have been lucky to collaborate with many talented and caring folks who have taught me much and have enriched my career and personal life. The openness that is fostered at the Agency has given me opportunities to explore and communicate new and fresh solutions in my everyday work.