An article in the Los Angeles Times brought back a fond memory of my working days in Tokyo in the ‘80s. The gigantic intersection in the heart of the Shibuya District doesn’t have traditional pedestrian crosswalks, but rather a gigantic “X” called the Shibuya Scramble. Traffic from all sides stops and thousands of pedestrians choreograph their way through the crossing arms of this intersection. The first time I came upon it, I literally didn’t know what to do. Do I just cross like normal? Do I proceed to the center of the “X” and then down a different arm? Do I follow an arm straight to the other diagonal?
After the first couple of visits, the “shuffle” was old hat, and I was amused to see other uninitiated foreigners hesitating curbside, wondering how to navigate the sea of people and asphalt.
Last week we won a large and complex assignment, and went about the immediate task of finalizing a Gage team to develop and deliver it. The complexity of the assignment caused us to staff with an array of talent that typically wouldn’t work together. On top of that, representatives on the client side came from a variety of areas these team members wouldn’t normally work with – IT Security, Finance and Customer Care. The result was a Shibuya Scramble of sorts – folks being in somewhat familiar territory, but unsure how to proceed.
This is the moment when an opportunity becomes the launching pad for something great, or devolves into a nightmare from which one can’t awake. I’m confident it’s a launching pad for us for a few reasons:
- Our team members are trained to deal with and thrive on change. Even though there are things that are new or to which they aren’t accustomed, the fact that they “don’t know everything” doesn’t paralyze them.
- Gage is full of experienced “guides”. Every aspect of the assignment was in somebody’s repertoire within the overall Gage team. And that extended team and its skills are available for anyone to tap. Furthermore, our extensive experience dealing with all levels of client needs and requirements allows us to both understand and contextualize the inquiries from all areas within client organizations.
- Finally, we all realize that the best way to move forward is to step off the curb. Like the proverbial chicken, it is the only way to get to the other side.
Creating a culture that embraces change is not easy, but it is clearly becoming table stakes for agencies.
Image credit: L.A. Times