How to Build a Winning Team

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    Agency Life

  • Date:

    September 28, 2016

How to Build a Winning Team

Agency Life

It’s the first full week of fall. The days are shorter, the nights are cooler, and pumpkin spice is back on the menu at my local coffee shop.

College football programs are also back in action. I’m a Penn State Nittany Lion, but my daughter is a freshman at UNC. I just returned from my first Carolina Family Weekend in Chapel Hill, and as I sat in the stadium on a hot, sunny Saturday afternoon, watching my adopted Tar Heels take on the University of Pittsburgh, I couldn’t help but think about the importance of teamwork and how it leads to success.

NFL rosters have 53 players, but college squads are even larger. Teams have a range of players with different skill sets and years of experience, playing different positions, all with a common goal. The quarterback might be the star, but he won’t complete a pass unless his line protects him; the running back might be a bulldozer, but he won’t get the first down unless the line opens a hole; the receiver might be a speedster, but he won’t score a long touchdown unless his teammates block downfield. 

Individuals can’t succeed unless they work as a team. And that’s why our first core value is We, not me.

At Wray Ward, we have 85 team members. Seven broad departments and more than 30 job titles. Thirty-year veterans and 30-day rookies. New grads and grandparents.  Account leads and project managers, writers and designers, digital developers and insights strategists who, at any given time, could be at the same table, tackling the same challenge. 

It’s a successful model, and it works for one main reason: 


Culture is the tie that binds us. It’s sharing a worthy mission or cause, making our community better together or achieving great work as a team. And more than anything else, my job at Wray Ward is to set that tone and live it each and every day.

In creative marketing communications, culture is about getting diverse points of view in an ideation session or at the execution stage. It’s about coming to the table with skillsets and personalities handpicked and groomed to work on a piece of business. It’s about getting media experts excited about creative and designers excited about data. It’s about being a partner, not a vendor. It’s about collaborating with our clients, because they live and breathe their brands like nobody else. It’s about coming together to celebrate great work with a bell ringing or by sharing our clients’ amazing stories with the world. 

In sports, undefeated seasons are hard to achieve. At the office, there are times we have to take our ideas back to the drawing board. Likewise, we don’t win every piece of new business we pursue. But we know our roles. We trust and believe in each other. We give it everything we’ve got. And we win – or lose – as a team.

On Saturday, my daughter’s Tar Heels trailed Pitt 36-23 with less than seven minutes remaining. But they didn’t quit. Instead, they rallied and grabbed an improbable win in the last two seconds. That’s teamwork at its best.

At Wray Ward, our strong company culture is a guide. But it’s the talents, traits and never quit attitude of each of the 85 unique individuals on our team that turn us into a better, stronger, more powerful whole.

Go Heels. Go Nittany Lions. Go Wray Ward.

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