Building A Team By Sharing The Good

By Jeff Allen | @JeffAllenUT | President at Hanapin Marketing

I haven’t slept much in a few days. No reason, really. It’s not because of stress, although things aren’t perfect, and it’s not because I’m on a bender, although family will be in town the next two weeks and I make no promises then. I just haven’t slept. Which has led to a lot of time to read and think. The biggest realization is how often I focus on the bad and how rarely I think or talk about what excites me.


I think this is natural since so much of my day revolves around:


  • Reducing frictions so people can better do their jobs
  • Doling out resources where there are shortages
  • Finding new ways to grow


Natural? Yes. Fun? Hells no.


And it’s no way to build a team. Who wants to join a company with a grumpy-cat for a boss? Who wants to fight to grow and accomplish a shared vision when all it gets them is another problem to solve? Who wants to talk with the PPC account manager when that person is only sharing what’s not working and what’s been done versus talking about what will be working in the future based on what has already been done? (Note: you can’t only talk about the good. A pet peeve is an AM that takes credit for good performance and credits the bad performance to the unseasonable amount of rain the East Coast has been receiving.)


In honor of sharing the good, I sent this email to our company last week (a few items redacted). It was the result of wanting to change up my mood after feeling bummed out by losing a couple folks who I really cared about, and who were great teammates.


From: Me
To: Hanapin Marketing
Subject: What I am Excited About




While there are tough things happening, and this email doesn’t change the real stress associated with that, there is also a lot of good. I’m talking big stuff that personally fulfills me and that I am looking forward to. I wanted to share some of those things with y’all because I like to read my own writing.


We’ve signed some awesome accounts! XXX, XXX, XXX, and XXX, to name just a few. These are the types of brands that agencies and account managers dream of. And it’s a total agency effort that pulls these folks in. Most our sales come through a path that involves creating the content, promoting it with partners, nurturing the lead, getting interest from the prospect, delivering a blueprint, reviewing our capabilities, negotiating price, going through the onboarding process, getting invoicing established and getting paid, and nurturing the relationship and measuring client satisfaction. All of these are instrumental steps in the process and involve all of Hanapin. I love our team environment and how everyone seems willing to help other folks out!


I really hate losing people. I wish everyone would work here forever. That would be just great. Let’s do that, OK? And, the folks that are leaving came in with no PPC and no CRO experience and yet are getting opportunities in the field that they seem very excited about. It’s extremely fulfilling and promising to know that our recruiting process, training program, opportunities to work on projects play a part in people having plenty of career opportunities (internal and external).


My personal purpose is to work with folks that make a major impact on PPC and that I have some teeny tiny part in their development and elevation in the industry. There are a lot of opportunities for folks to expand their careers, skill set and industry presence while working at Hanapin and as we grow those will continue to increase! We have a lot of people who have talked to me/their manager about what’s next for them and these people are working through plans to expand their skills and increase their reach. We can’t always promise promotions, but we can always provide opportunities for horizontal growth and working on interesting puzzles.


Speaking of that, we have folks stepping into new roles that will help drive performance for our clients, reduce workload on any one individual, and give people new opportunities! It’s really fun to watch someone step into something new and knock it out of the park. That’s happened a lot in the past, and I believe it will continue to happen!


I know that many of our accounts are more complicated than they have been historically and that we communicate with them more than ever. Still, it’s very encouraging to see that we’re getting closer and closer to our goal number of accounts per AM. We have fewer accounts per AM than in the past, and far fewer than most agencies ask AM’s to manage, and have a plan for getting to an average of 3. XXXXXX


Our average employee tenure is waaaay up from thee ol‘ days. It’s not where I’d like it and we’ll always do things to improve it. [After sending this email I found out that we’ve increased on employee retention by 50% in the past 3 years.]


Our average client retention has increased. XXXXXX


Hero Conf London is going to be a blast and cool to expand our conference brand into international markets! Hero Conf Philly is getting a ton of interest already. Sponsorships are already rolling in, and people are already asking how/when to register!


We have new hires that are bringing a lot of energy, expertise and enthusiasm to the team!


And the things I am most excited about are…we have more people in senior roles then ever. We have an executive team and an extended leadership team that all really care about this being a great place to work, doing great work on our accounts, and being a good influence on our community and industry. Beyond leadership folks we have a ton of people at this company that truly want to be part of something special and have great ideas on how we can all co-create that. We have the new Structures that are slowly getting implement across all departments. This is leading to lots more strategy being driven by folks other than Pat and I. And lots less me picking through every detail of projects. Which I am sure everyone enjoys more!!! (Still a way off from the Structures being more natural and woven into the entire company. And I am excited for where we are and were we are going!)


Our awesome group of people who are committed to us being a great company is why we have a pipeline of other PPC folks who want to work for us, and who love us once they start 🙂 Why we fill jobs in neck-break speed. Why we continuously make improvements to benefits and perks, like 4.5 day work week and defined contributions.


We listen to feedback, want to have a culture where truth and happiness flourish and where rumors and negativity are stamped out. The only thing that ever keeps me up at night is how to do this. I don’t always get things right, but I do always take my role and your feedback seriously. And I do believe that our co-workers are an enormous component of my individual and our company success.


We’ll all come together and work on things like stress, balancing workload, recognizing awesome work, and re-injecting some energy in this place! There’s plenty to do, and there’s plenty that I’m already incredibly proud to be part of.


Thanks for reading and/or deleting this email.

JEFF ALLEN | President


It’s funny that I talked about nothing keeping me up at night, but started this by saying it wasn’t work related. An odd coincidence I guess…


What are you excited for? Do people, your people, know about it?