CONNECT + DEVELOP + INNOVATE
Morover, he is director at Postgraduate Branded Content y Transmedia Storytelling (Inesdi), EuroTransmedia Advisory Board member, New Media teacher at Escuela Internacional de Cine y TV de Cuba y author at eduardopradanos.com.
This is our Manifesto, and we are making it public because we truly believe in it:
Continuously leave your comfort zone. Only then will we be truly innovative and different. Touch on all platforms/technologies/products that may become necessary for our work. Even when we do not like them, this has to be a compromise. Innovate as a philosophy of life. Try to do things for the first time. To understand that before now, those who always did the same thing triumphed, but today it is the opposite. Face our fears. For example, if we cannot talk in public, do it until this fear is overcome. Show interest in and use technological innovations or tools that improve productivity while these coexist with analogue equipment/tools. Increase our interest in trends and those details that make some things more interesting than others. Communicate this to the team and generate new topics of conversation in order to develop our own thoughts on current affairs.
Be aware of the greatness of this project and of its point of difference. Always walk with your head held high, proud of our approach and our work. Put our strengths on display and communicate them when it is appropriate. Identify the best (ones) and praise their excellence. Imitate what is unbeatable. We cannot always invent things. And do not hide it. This also is a value. Recognize the competition’s successes and even name these at conferences. Request an honest opinion from people in the industry in whose judgment we trust, to see whether the message is properly communicated or gets distorted and in this way these external eyes will help us see things in better perspective. Draw conclusions and lessons from this and assess whether it is necessary to change things. Participate in the successes and failures of clients. Give them the importance they deserve when it feels like the awards are for us only. Do not seek either the prize or cheap applause but be grateful when it they come. Talk to clients about something other than just work. Understand that the client is not ignorant but that because of their position they may not always approve of our ideas. No one without children can give advice to a parent. Stop taking on large projects so that you can create great projects. Visualize ourselves being successful. Thoughts are replicated. Winners against losers. Sincerely rejoice in the good news of others (including competition) and do not wish failure upon others. Criticize everything that needs to be criticised in a constructive manner. Avoid the “I do it in this way” if the method does not fit with the others. Accept that it is possible to change. And rejoice in it. Recognize ignorance and find out whom to ask when there is something we don’t know…and don’t point fingers at whoever is wrong. Say thank you when you are given praise. Tell each other the good things. Strengthen the self-esteem of others. Take care of one another. Admire others with sincerity. Recognize their strengths and exploit them. Know when to play dumb to handle a delicate situation. Trying to look too clever can, on occasion, go against us. Explain the things that we control very well with enough empathy to put ourselves in the place of others so that they can understand it, and not bombard them big words and technicalities to make us look smarter. Show an interest in the personal aspects of the lives of collaborators/clients. If they have recently become parents, if they have won a prize for something, etc. This shows interest in something more human than just moving a company ahead. Avoid treating clients (especially in emails and in person) as gods that require our worship and laughter at all their graces. This is perceived as forced and it doesn’t go down well. Always behave naturally, with respect and common sense. They are people just like you and have the same desire to get things done right to feel valued within their company. They will always value this relationship highly; they already have to deal with enough agencies and providers as to not want to get along with them. Know how to yield when it is required even when you are sure of something.
Do not ever stop training and education. Have a desire to continuously improve. Nothing exists about which we know enough about so as to rest on our laurels. Take our crazy ideas for a walk. If the atmosphere is good, this should be known from the outside. Value tranquillity and stability, making them coexist with innovation. Not wanting to change location, logo or whatever every month. Now that we finally own a project, we do not want, and we probably don’t know how, to do things differently. Therefore, we believe that failing in complying with this manifesto will be a failure. Try to be happy for the longest time possible. Do not mourn and complain as if bad things only happen to us. Do not believe ourselves to be the epicentre of the universe. To be honest, our problems are not usually as serious. Avoid drama as an emotional resource/blackmail. Do not stress. And if someone is stressed, the others should help. Stop when the body tells you to. This is just a job. Always keep calm so there is no regret about making decisions when not in control. Control our negative emotions. Immediately stop all work when there is bad news for someone close to us who requires our support. Consider men equal to women. If a woman is a mother be happy and do not question her commitment. It’s amazing that this is still a subject of controversy in certain heartless companies. There is nothing nicer than having a child, it is something that we should rejoice in and we will solve any working issues by spreading work out a bit more between all of us or hiring someone during any maternity leave required. Never (under any circumstances) lose sleep for three days in a row because of a project. Show interest for other people’ tastes and do not make them look less important. Support those who are sick or who have someone close to them who is sick. There is nothing that brings people together more than being there for them during the bad times. It is too easy to only be there during the good times. Adjust the workday seeking maximum efficiency and the ability to cope with a personal life. Try to have lunch for an hour at most and leave at a set time in the afternoon to be able to make other plans (sports, movies, family, etc.). Try to follow schedules and leave at the set time. On Fridays, provided that there is nothing that cannot be put off, go home at 15:00 – we’ve already worked enough hours during the week. Leaving at this time makes you start the weekend happy so that you can make good use of it. Do not comment on the look or style of staff members. In a modern twenty-first century company this should never be a determining factor. In fact, quite the opposite: we must be able to be ourselves and win projects without disguising who we are. Communicate to the client (in a way that does not sound arrogant) that working with us is an opportunity because we will not take on a lot of projects a year in order to give them the time and care they deserve. And that is the greatest guarantee of success. Do no make work life prevail over personal life. And if someone overdoes it, the others will alert him/her to return to the right path. Read. Nothing more but also nothing less. And share what you read with the team to inform us all equally. Go to a festival together at least a couple of time a year. Get drunk together and tell us everything we want to say but that we do not dare to say in our day-to-day life. Take care of our health. The success or failure of the project will depend largely on this. Practice sports. Travel around Spain and the world whenever we can, to get to understand those from outside our world. Only reading opens up the mind as much as travelling. Listen to (good, of course!) music while working. Share your playlist with the team. Make plans with our families together. This provides a lot of security and tranquillity to other team members. Do not lose focus of what really matters in life: family and friends. Although they may not understand it all, involve and inform family and friends of the great landmarks. You will realize who really loves you when you see who sincerely and selflessly rejoices for you. Learn from our failures and do not hide them. Even from clients. Admit mistakes. Recognize failures. Value our failures and do not try to hide them as this is the best way to learn, although at the time they do sting. Help build the discourse of the company, as this has to belong to all members, a discourse we believe in and can recite convincingly. Keep people informed as things happen, not just when the result is positive. People are very interested in following up the process of something that has possibilities of success / failure. Know how to swing with the punches and have the flexibility to humbly see and recognize the things that we did not count on needing to be done at first, depending on what is happening. Try to use English on every possible occasion. Try to sell strategy more than implementation. Although we are aware that very often both go hand in hand. Give time to what adds value and try not to waste time on lower level issues. Although this may sound arrogant, it is the only way to take on great projects with only those hands that are strictly necessary. When in doubt, follow whatever the heart tells us (and not the head).
Decorate the office tastefully so we can feel as comfortable as possible. Understand the role you play in the company and assume it with decision when needed. There will be no individual offices or unnecessary details that create a physical (or, even worse, emotional) distance between the directors and other employees. Try to avoid this until it becomes absolutely necessary. Know how to communicate the culture of the business to those who are new or to those who ask about it. Study the discourse and the DNA until we fully believe it so that whoever hears it hears the security. Always speak in the first person of plural (“we”). The successes and failures belong to us all. Start the day at the office with a smile and finish the same way. Raise our hand when we need help. Always with the pride of having someone around us that will happily help us. Do not doubt team members nor raise suspicions. “Love is anything but doubt.” Understand that if someone does not do something it is because (and for whatever reason) he/she has been truly unable to do it. Do not raise doubts about a member of the team when they are not there. Trust each other and do not question their way of working albeit if completely different to ours. This is the most important point of all. Joke with peers. The jinx is contagious, the happy one too. Do not make others pay for frustrations at work. Use calm and not stressful language and when someone infects others, remind them to return to tranquillity. Get occupied and not preoccupied. 80% of concerns are never realised. Help relax those who are going through a tense moment and help them to think positively about it. Do not reproach others if you’ve been working late or overtime. If you are going to do that, don’t work late. Be interested in all areas of the company and not just in ours. Be proud of not being experts in a field but specialists on multiplatform projects. We are versatile people. Assist your peers, especially those who are younger and more inexperienced. Dedicate at least 15 minutes every day to guide the latter. Understand that their progress as a professional and, above all, as a person, is partly our responsibility. Correct them as we would have liked to have been corrected back in the day. Understand the personalities of each team member and value their strengths. Always remember that we are good people. Understand that each team member is different and unique. And a good person. Respect whoever is leading a project even if we don’t agree with some of their decisions. Bring and share lunch in the office. A bar of chocolate unites teams much more than weeks working together. Treat interns with the same respect as if they were the CEOs of an important company. Follow the rule that says bosses are for either big news or big problems. So, if, for example, something goes really wrong, they must be the spokesmen. It is reflected in their salary and by their position, this must always be remembered even if it sounds like a cliché. Roll up your sleeves and do things for which, in principle, you have not been hired for. Here there are no stars or divas. In fact, the real stars are those who behave in the most team focussed and humble way. Incorporate people that we are highly confident about into projects. Devote the necessary time to find talent. This will avoid unpleasant situations for both sides. Avoid envying peers. Talk about things face to face with a constructive purpose. Be able to discern, using good judgment and common sense, what information must be known by all employees and what should be handled more cautiously. Have an established protocol for when a person is missing so that any day-to-day work does not suffer until their return. Do not compare one team member with another. It would almost always be biased and unfair. Internalize that although we are a start-up company where each piece is key, no one is truly indispensable. Know that if there is a word that goes hand in hand with Start-up Company, this word is “risk“. And this, instead of frightening us, makes us be more alert. Gradually increase the responsibilities and the confidence of team members and try to check their work at the beginning, to be able to guide them so that they can learn in an organized way, and not because we release them to the lions and they have no choice. This is not about training workers, but people. Managing diversity and learn to make the most of each person. Do not put a striker in to a goalkeeper’s position. Learn from failure until everyone performs at their best. Reflect, in writing and leave it in a visible place, qualities of the team members. This will make people feel valued, and raise their performance levels (it has been studied and proven that when we feel we have the confidence of those around us we increase our performance by a really significant percentage).
Do not get involved with projects that do not meet the premise of having a clear brief, so that we are able to do a really good job. Nor should we accept projects that we do not consider interesting just to justify a payroll. The day we do that, we will die as a company and we will become just another one. Personally meet those who we want to participate in something. Although it takes longer, it is what is fair and efficient. Try to make all projects profitable. That all these good intentions do not tarnish one of the key points of we started this project: to make money to live better. Do not confuse good vibes with entrepreneurial astuteness. In fact, make these coexist. Be independent and responsible with our work. Be mature and able to decide for ourselves. Do not send emails to clients during the wee hours. Remember that other’s work needs to be paid. And ours is also charged. Only then will we be truly honest with ourselves and with our clients and collaborators and we will give 100%. Work orderly and with common sense. Try to aim for maximum efficiency. Be a facilitator as opposed to being an obstacle. Do not penalize home working nor distrust those who practice it. Similarly, be equally responsible when working at the office as much as when working from home. Always comply with deadlines, especially with clients. This will prove and show seriousness. To do this, do not let us be caught out with unrealistic timings. Apply common sense to everything. Prepare meetings so they are effective. Go to them with an agenda to follow. Also, do not fall into the “Excessive Meetings” hole that is so abundant in this industry. Reply to client briefs with the objectives they require from us and not with what we want. Clients know their brand better than anyone (no one knows their brand better than the clients, as much as the client knows your brand better). Do not point your finger at clients about their flaws; nobody likes to be told what they do wrong in public. Spend the required number of days to become immersed in the beginning of the project, to really meaningfully build it from the base up. Get the whole team involved in the creative process, while at the time respecting the area’s directive team. We can all have good ideas to contribute. Directives figures should find the ideal balance between disappearing from the projects entirely once that have been awarded and needing to be constantly involved in the day-to-day work. Try to adapt to client needs knowing how to maintain and defend our own when these are going to affect the result. Constantly review the stage of the project, ensuring it is efficient. Summon/report whatever is necessary to move forward on projects. Avoid talking about your weekend at the Monday morning status review meetings, because the week would then start inefficiently. Use the lunch hour to meet and talk about outstanding things that concern the team. Bringing two things together makes agendas efficient and the workday more profitable. Base our work on three fundamental pillars: 1) The combination of the experience of team members on many important national and international projects; and their intuition. 2) Knowledge of trends and their use. 3) Intuition. We love this sentence from Punset (from minute 13:00) “The greatest discovery of recent years is to confirm that intuition is just as valid a source of knowledge as is reason. Furthermore, conscious thought occupies just a tiny place in the brain compared to unconscious thought, which occupies a much larger space.” Innovation depends greatly on intuition there is no doubt. We must communicate this security and confidence to those who a priori do not rely entirely on something that is impossible to previously document/justify, such as is intuition. Obviously, leaning on the other two pillars, which are much easier to prove.
Care for the relationships with clients/partners/collaborators. Avoid conflict caused by stress. Make them love us. Generate business for other companies if we are not the right partner. Develop the ability to understand what companies are better suited to a partnership relationship and which ones are better as suppliers. Try to ensure by all means possible that every euro of the client is invested and dedicated to the project and not to unnecessary expenses. Do not dismiss providers. In fact, do not call them a provider but a collaborator (or partner if we want to be a little more refined). Try having a drink with them before and during any project. Introduce them (and not hide them) to clients when appropriate, noting that their presence is a good thing and not a “patch”. Help to expand the network of talented collaborators, one of the main pillars of the company. Help the incorporation of new people to the company or to projects, making their entry into the company easy and comfortable. Create collaborative structures to share knowledge so that the reader/viewer associates us with the disciplines dealt with. Always with the support of the guest/s, not taking advantage of them with trickery, and thanking them for their collaboration. Derive work and opportunities to generate business or give extra income to people of the team. If a person is summoned to an event and cannot go, the first choice for a replacement should be someone from the team, whenever it makes sense and it is not forced upon them. Come to rely on collaborators for key areas (development, design, production, etc.) to regularly collaborate and improve processes with joint experience. Develop a model of collaboration that is honest and that values our work. Knowing how to quote our work and expertise.
Relate our projects with enthusiasm. Much of the perception of those who will hear it will come from the enthusiasm we have in it. Understand that the formula for success is a combination of talent, determination and work. Celebrate successes. It cannot be that we work several weeks-for example on a bid-, we win and we do not take time out to rejoice. Value things when enjoying them and not when you lose them. Do not be attached to what is material but to what is personal. Happiness should be the main focus of work. Be optimistic and if someone falls into pessimism, others should encourage them. Put passion and enthusiasm into everything we do. Not only at the beginning – it should be maintained throughout and help ensure it does not wane during low times. Get excited about silly things. Be thrilled by personal stories. Especially those of courageous people and fighters. Defend our arguments with assertiveness. And with education and elegance. Strive to fulfil dreams.
Don’t just do things well. Make them pretty. And do it in FLUOR style too. Appreciate the beauty of the projects. Make a very good first impression. And make sure that every document that goes out from us is flawless in both writing/content as much as in visual style. Quality vs. Quantity. It is better to take on fewer projects that allow us to take pride in helping our clients than undertake many without love. Do not confuse service with servility. This sentence is one of the major themes of advertising and it is rarely met. This will probably coexist in equal measure with the extent to which clients understand that their success is our success and that we offer the highest level of commitment and responsibility. Make clients understand that we are not a low cost company. What is clear is that the client’s budget will go direct to the project and not to pay for huge operational costs as happens at large agencies. But the quality and involvement has to be paid for and this needs to be properly communicated. Try to ensure that every piece of the content that we produce is of a high quality. If for whatever reason this is not going to be possible (lack of time, lack of inspiration, etc.) try to seek help from your peers or, ultimately, do not do it. We should only expose products/articles/lectures/papers that we are proud of. And that cannot always happen, so once again: Quality vs. Quantity. Educate others and ourselves to learn to properly evaluate the time that is required to do something very well.
Do things honestly and communicate this. It is important to not only do it but to also make known what we do. Be able to say no to proposals that are not interesting, even if this makes us look bad. This is a business and its objective is profitability. Monitor the profitability of projects. Do not believe that only we are good and others are fools. Do not dismiss or minimise others’ work. There are very few geniuses, we’re good workers. Think good and not bad of others from the outset. Maintain a clean gaze. Always be sincere, even if it hurts. But be constructive. Even with the company’s accounts, so everyone will be aware of the real state of affairs. But remember that honesty can sometimes lead to rudeness. Being educated will make us respectable. Under no circumstances use bad luck or the failure of others to excuse ourselves. Devote the time to projects that they deserve and say no if, for timing reasons, we will end up delivering something that is not up to our standards. Although it may be a bit upsetting, eventually it is best for both parties. Understand that certain profiles should be devoted to high-level tasks to take full advantage of their potential. Understand that ‘time is money‘ and that there are occasions when an outside collaborator can take charge of some areas while we allocate our time to more important issues.
Spend money on things that are essential and don’t squander it on whims. If it is necessary to invest in something, let’s invest – especially if it is an asset to generate business. But let’s try to get the best value for money. Improve the way we express ourselves in public referencing great speakers. Try (relatively speaking –and with humility) to make people leave delighted with our interventions. Test various formats to find the ones that work best and know how to adapt them depending on the specific forum and audiences. Always provide support to those representing the company, wherever they are (conferences, meetings, etc.). Communicate this on our personal profiles on social networks. Start meetings with a smile. Always help disseminate any content that anybody from the team produces (an article, a conference, an interview, a personal success even if it is not linked to the company, etc.). The project’s success will depend largely on the success and recognition of its members. Invite clients or prospective clients to events we are attending or where we can get tickets. Everybody likes to leave the office from time to time and see something that is interesting to their work. Assess whether it is possible and worthwhile to fund, for example, a specialist course or an enrollment fee for a masters for a client or an important person. Do this naturally and without forcing it. Improve our personal branding directing it towards gaining notoriety linked to the company. Shift the work load from the usual figures at events/forums/congresses and in all the media focus and redistribute it among other key people in the company who want to take a step forward in visibility within the sector. Change certain complex forms of expression that result in a good message not understood as well as it deserves to be.
Try to steer all our participation at events, collaborations with publications and all the other moments into opportunities to make our DNA and services public knowledge. Always with class and without forcing it. If it is not appropriate at a certain time, then it is not appropriate. Maintain our discourse and business model knowing that beginnings are always difficult. Do not enter into projects that we rejected in the business plan. Maintain consistency and everything that has been planned in moments of serenity, despite any ups and downs. This has special importance for the management team, who must never spread doubt or fears that arise along the way. If they falter, the rest will falter too. This is a very important responsibility, difficult to carry out but an extra effort should be made because a calm atmosphere allows the team to perform at a top level. Develop a strategy (and see it through) to position ourselves in key areas in the near future. This issue is very important, it should be seen as a top priority, because we will depend on this to be able to make a living in the coming years if we do it well now. Have a pool of 4-5 presentations addressing topics on which we are positioned and that any member of FLUOR’s management team can use depending on the event they will be attending. Utilise these as many times as possible (without addressing the same audience) and continue improving them as novelties are added. Communicate that that is our company’s vision and thoughts on these issues (not just personal opinions). Share knowledge whenever we can and/or are requested to. In writing, orally or in whatever form. Whether it is between ourselves, to a 1st year university student or to the president of Telefonica. Our private Facebook group page is of compulsory reading and participation. Consult sources of interest for our industry to keep update. Review in detail the content produced by the team and discuss them. We should all spend 10 minutes reading this to know what the other has done. And, of course, we all like our effort to be recognized. Schedule our already agreed training presence (defining what to say at each event) and uncover interesting events that we should attend or be part of to have a major presence in the most important places for our core business. Be interested in universal disciplines (philosophy, literature, art, history, etc.). General culture makes better projects. Dedicate some time every day to read something interesting and spread it on our own media. Our positioning and getting to be at the top the minds of potential clients/collaborators is achieved little by little, and is not the result of miracles and wands. Integrate this into our daily work so it comes naturally and is not seen as an imposition.