We are an HR specialist, and the saying that an organization can only be as good as the people within its organization is never far from the truth. In a largely competitive advertising landscape – especially in Singapore, where there are hundreds of agencies vying for basically the same pie of business – the importance of good human resources cannot be overemphasized. Nonetheless, it is not a secret that in the advertising arena, the chances of witnessing an agency with both the suits and creatives being able to see eye-to-eye on issues is as rare as water in the desert – and this is no exaggeration!
Conflict is omnipresent and prevalent in any organization, and is also a part of life and business – but it can be detrimental or even destructive if it continues over the same issues or over the most trivial of matters. In a small agency, such conflicts or internal rivalries are an impediment to growth, as the people would probably fail to look at the bigger picture of working towards contributing to the Agency as compared to engaging in petty politicking and creating conflicts. They should be made to realize that this will create a cycle of counterproductive behavior that will hinder meeting organizational goals. We can imbue into both the creatives and suits the concepts of being flexible and adaptable in our day-to-day dealings, communicating effectively and observing mutual respect. Nonetheless, it just takes one rotten apple that remains incorrigible to spoil the whole cart of fruit.
The creatives and suits in the organization should recognize that they are on board the same ship and collectively should weather all storms. If they succeed in steering the ship well and going full steam ahead, they can realistically expect to reap what they sow as a team. Conversely, it just takes one (be it creative or suit) to go backwards, and the tendency is that it will result in confusion, departmentalization, delay of executing tasks, and failure to meet the organizational objectives. Yes, effective leadership can make a difference, but if the member remains recalcitrant at the expense of the company, the management will have to take a firm stand, or it will not be a surprise that the myth surrounding the suits and creatives being at constant loggerheads will never change!