Every year, the MilesHerndon crew participates in Agency Kickball with the AIGA. This is my first year participating, and I can genuinely say that it has quickly become my favorite part of working with the MilesHerndon team.
As a young guy, I’m still pretty new to the whole “workforce” thing, but the one consistent trend I’ve noticed in my various roles is how difficult it is to get to know your co-workers. In college, when you were involved in a team or club, I feel like you got to know your teammates infinitely better in a short amount of time than you get to know your co-workers in a standard 9-to-5.
Compared to most workplaces, MilesHerndon has a culture that is conducive to getting to know your coworkers. Kegs of beer and plenty of group outings make it easier to get to know people, but I still feel like there’s a barrier that you can’t really overcome just getting drinks with someone (unless, of course, you get too many drinks, but no one at this fine organization has ever done such a thing).
In the heat of competition, however, I feel like you see who people really are. In one short game of kickball, I can learn more about my teammates than I could in ten hours at a bar with them. I can see their reaction to both success and failure and learn what kind of teammate they are. I start to notice small signs of frustration when they drop a ball that they would try not to show at work. I see that little spark of joy when they kick a home run that they may try to downplay, as not to upstage their co-workers.
Most importantly, kickball gives me an opportunity to learn how to be a better teammate to them. By learning how they react in various situations, I learn how I can support them when they face similar situations in the workplace. As a team, I feel like we grow together, not just in avoiding pop flies and tightening up our fielding, but also in our ability to work together as a team.
We learn to communicate as a team in a few words and by reading facial cues, rather than by Slack or Email. We learn how to focus on the important things we need to do to win and ignore the small, trivial, or petty things that don’t matter. We learn each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and we learn that just because we have an area where we’re not strong doesn’t mean that we’re any less valued as teammates. We learn how to lift each other up, not tear each other down. We learn how to be a better team, and as our team continues to grow rapidly, that’s the most important thing we can be doing right now.