Off the Radar - Insights from Stealth Creative

Puddle Jumping With Mindy: Skateboarding is a lot like running a creative agency. Who knew?

Skateboarding, believe it or not, is one of my favorite pastimes. I’m known as the Tony Hawk of the office. In fact, when I’m not working, you can find me outside Stealth Creative gliding through the city streets on my board, the wind flowing through my hair, the adrenaline rushing through my bloodstream. Yes, I am that cool.

All of that is factual…except the parts that aren’t. ;-) Okay, confession time: I have never skateboarded outside of the four corners within that picture.

During this particular photoshoot, the photographer asked me: “How do you feel about skateboarding?” My silence and less-than-passionate facial expression demonstrated my concern for the idea. He quickly added: “It’s okay; you don’t have to.”

Of course, I knew that, but I’m not the type to not at least try something new. After some thought, I began entertaining the possibility, and cautiously asked: “Well, what do you want me to do?”

The photographer smiled, and said: “I want you to ride a skateboard, of course.” I realize now, I probably should’ve used the word need, instead of want. The information I was really seeking was meant to focus more on if I was really the one qualified for this.

My concerned facial expression returned, involuntarily, and he said: “Your team will be around you.”

That did the trick.

The possibility wheels started to turn again. I thought to myself: He’s right! I’ve trusted my team with my business for years. As long as they’re around me, I can do it!

With support on all sides, I got on that board, and voilá! Results.

So, what does skateboarding have to do with running a business?

This is more than just a silly picture; this is a metaphor for the work ethic Stealth has provided our clients for years.

As with the skateboard, where things start off a little wobbly and uncertain until you find your solid foundation, building a solid relationship with our clients is something we take seriously, work hard at and focus on every day to drive results.

We know exactly how to use all four wheels on our board to work together, get everything aligned and move forward for a smooth ride. We are a team of flow-riders! (Not to be confused with rapper: Flo Rida).

During my brief skateboard lesson that day, I was asked many questions: Which foot is your goofy foot? Which foot is your regular foot? Which foot do you want to lead the board’s direction? Which foot do you want to push the board forward?

My main focus, in all honesty, was on that “goofy foot.” More specifically, how many drawbacks a goofy foot could bring before my face met the floor. The answer is none – as long as that foot has four wheels under it and a back-up system supporting it.

After receiving so much advice on how to properly position myself on a flat surface with wheels underneath, I finally asked: “How do you all know this stuff?” It turned out my support team all had skateboarded before.

The team came with its own skillset prior to this journey – exactly the same way as the entire Stealth team who brings industry and discipline knowledge to the table every day. That’s how I knew I was in great hands on the skateboard – and how our clients know they’re in great hands with Stealth as a partner.

The textbook definition of the word “team” is:

A group of people with a full set of complementary skills required to complete a task, job, or project.

Team members: (1) operate with a high degree of interdependence, (2) share authority and responsibility for self-management, (3) are accountable for the collective performance, and (4) work toward a common goal and shared rewards(s).

I never thought my first skateboarding experience would be an analogy to running an agency, but it turns out, it is. Who knew?

The Skateboarding : Business Analogy

The front wheels are the people at Stealth who specialize in course-correcting the board (definition numbers 2 and 4). The out-of-house operational work the client gets to see. These two wheels help our business continue to move forward. Without them, we would surely fall on our faces (just as I’d feared that day).

The back wheels are the people at Stealth who focus on properly executing our services to result in satisfied customers. It’s the creative component that numbers 1 and 3 illustrate for us. Without our creative minds consistently staying abreast on the latest market research, trends and best practices, we wouldn’t have a solid foundation for our heels to lean back on during the ride. (Not to mention the most important part: No creative minds. No Stealth Creative! Gotta’ have those back wheels).

Once I was on that skateboard, I didn’t think about the dangers or worry that I would fall. Why? Because I had my team around me, working together to support me – the same way we function day in and day out to successfully run a creative agency, build strong client relationships and deliver results every day.

You never know what tomorrow will bring, but by trying new things, you may just learn a little more about yourself and your business. After all, I learned that skateboarding is a lot like running a creative agency. Who knew?

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