What Is The Wonder Jam Like?
At large companies, corporate policies dictate what you can and cannot do. Large companies have rules, small companies rely on culture. Company Culture is the shared beliefs and behaviors of a group of people. Our culture determines how we behave and how we treat people. These are what we aspire to and what we hold ourselves accountable to. Each member of Team Wonder Jam creates the culture.
Within this document you’ll find the 7 things we aspire towards, that make us unique and that describe the place we want to work:
Dialed-In To The Work & The People In Front of Us
“But it is impossible to enjoy a tennis game, a book, or a conversation unless attention is fully concentrated on the activity.” ~ Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi ~
Since we started The Wonder Jam in May 2013, every brand we’ve worked with has described their target audience as “distracted,” “busy,” or “overwhelmed.” Everyone is busy. Everyone is addicted to their phones. Heck, many of you may have had a hard time concentrating enough to read the words on this page.
The Wonder Jam is different.
We’re present, focused and prepared for the moment. Whether we’re presenting work to clients, discussing business finances or holding a reflector during a photoshoot, we want to be locked into the work and people in front of us.
Nobody feels special when you’re on your phone. Technology is an amazing tool to connect with people all over the world. It’s beautiful, but when the team or our clients are around, that is where our connection is focused. In a world full of distraction, all we have to do is be present and people will think we’re some kind of magic wizards and we LOVE to be magic.
One of the best ways to be dialed-in to conversations, meetings or brainstorming sessions is to be prepared. Sometimes preparation means writing a quick note about 3 things to cover during a meeting. Other times, it means creating a mood board for yourself before you start designing or reviewing notes from past meetings before you get started. Sometimes preparation means sneaking to the bathroom, closing your eyes and reminding yourself that you’re brilliant and talented and that you have what it takes. Mentally prepared, emotionally prepared and professionally prepared.
When we’re dialed-in, we’re magic. And magic is the standard.
Early is On Time. And On Time is Better than Perfect
“I would never finish a painting if I didn't have a deadline.” ~ Peter Doig ~
It’s okay if work takes you longer or you want to re-work something, but you need to hit deadlines or projects get delayed. If you miss a deadline, have a plan for how you’ll keep a project on track.
There are a thousand books on art that will tell you that making MORE art is better than making PERFECT art. At The Wonder Jam, “perfect” is the enemy of “done.” The reason The Wonder Jam worked with hundreds of brands in only 3 years is that we got things done. Seth Godin calls this “Shipping.” Shipping means sending work to be seen by others.
People think that we make magical things. The truth is that we make things and the more things you make, the more likely they end up magical. The secret to making magical things is making a lot of things and then learning. Whether it’s logos or emails or taglines or websites or photos, the more you make, the better you’ll become.
Another critical reality is that most creative people tend to deliver their work late. When work is delivered late or at the last moment, it’s likely that the client becomes frustrated or revisions to the work ruin the deadline. At any rate, getting things done on time will make your creative work stick out in the world.
Communicate Early and Often
“You can have brilliant ideas, but if you can't get them across, your ideas won't get you anywhere.” ~ Lee Iococca ~
Communication early makes everyone think you’re brilliant. Communication late makes everyone think you’re flighty. Regardless of whether or not you are a poor or amazing communicator, the timing of communication is the difference.
If you think you don’t have time to work on a project, asking for an extension on a deadline two weeks or two days before a deadline makes you seem prepared. If you ask an hour after the deadline, you seem spastic.
At most companies, people are dieing inside and the first sign they give their team is when they quit. At The Wonder Jam, it’s OK to struggle publicly. Share what’s difficult. Ask for help early. Get feedback on concepts rather than finalized designs. Create a mood board and then ask for a review before you get started.
Communicating early also gives the rest of Team Wonder Jam time to take care of you. If you know you have a vacation or an illness or your computer is slow, share that. It helps everyone to work as a team.
You Should Fail At Things
“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.” ~ J.K Rowling ~
Allie has done two photo shoots where she didn’t like the photos and refunded the client all their money. If we don’t make mistakes, we will never grow. If we don’t grow, life is boring.
It is an expectation that you’ll fail. You won’t be perfect. A client won’t like your work. Heck, you might not even like your final product. This should be your expectation. It happens.
Failure should happen and the best option is the learn. If you don’t learn from failure, it’s wasted. If you learn from it, you grow. You get better. The next thing will be better.
As a note: failure isn’t always really failure. A client often chooses the less bold color scheme, logo or tagline. What feels like a “failure” might not really be failure at all. Because The Wonder Jam’s work is collaborative in nature, other people can fail as well. Don’t own another person’s failure as your own failure.
Fail. Admit it. We’ll talk about it. We’ll all get better.
Your Self-Care Is Lifeblood of Our Team
“You are in a much better position to serve others when your basic needs are met and your “tank is full”.” ~ Michael Hyatt ~
You’re most creative and productive and when you’re healthy. You can decide what “health” looks like for you, but it’s a MUST if we’re all going to be awesome together.
The strongest and most fun teams are those full of individuals who learn to care for themselves physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, financially and professionally.
Some places to start with self-care:
- - Sleep
- - Drink Enough Water
- - Fuel for Your Brain & Body
- - Eat real food
- - Chase Your Inspiration
- - Make a personal budget and track your spending
- - Set your goals for the next 2 months and two years and make a plan
- - Read a book
- - Visit a Museum
- - Go on a walk, take a yoga class or head to the gym
- - Spend time on a hobby you love
Each team member is going to have specific places where they’re weak and need help figuring out self-care. We love talking about these things and if you need help thinking through how to do this better, just ask.
Get Past Resistance and Get Into Flow
“It's not the writing part that's hard. What's hard is sitting down to write. What keeps us from sitting down is Resistance.” ~ Stephen Pressfield ~
In The War of Art, Stephen Pressfield personifies procrastination, fear and the thing inside of each one of us that keeps us from doing the important work we know we are to do as “The Resistance.” The number 1 difference between an artist and aspiring artist is Resistance.
Your hardest challenge in your life will be getting past Resistance. You don’t get past Resistance by yelling at it, beating yourself up or ignoring your feelings. You get past Resistance by acknowledging that it’s real and learning to dance with it. All you need to do is start and you’ll find yourself in a state of Flow.
Flow is the experience of getting lost in something. Have you ever sat down to make something and lost track of time? Ever found yourself in the middle of a conversation so engaging you lost track of time? Whenever you are “In The Zone” or you got “Lost in Your Work” or had the experience of “Time Slowed Down,” then you know what it’s like to be in a state of flow.
The secret of being “in the zone” or in Flow is that you’re way more brilliant there than anywhere else. You notice more details, you work faster, you bring more of your genius to the task. Study after study has shown flow states to improve athletic, musical and professional performance. It is also shown to be linked to happiness.
Each of us has different things that help us get “in-the-zone” but here are some triggers from Steven Kotler (author of The Rise of Superman).
Listen. Then Speak.
“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
~ Theodore Roosevelt ~
Asking a good question is the strongest statement that we make. A poorly asked question is better than a statement. Curious people win.
When The Wonder Jam started, we were amazed that million dollar companies would trust a husband & wife team with their brands. We later learned it was because we asked questions first. We were curious. It’s the “Wonder” in The Wonder Jam.” Be curious.
Here are a few scripts to get you started:
~ “What is it like to _____________.”
~ “Why did you decide to ________.”
~ “How did you feel when________.”
~ “What do you like about _______.”
Whether you’re really confident or you’re uncertain, listening is the place to start.
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