The Group Lunch: Fostering comaraderie in the creative department.
May 29, 2009
Pass the salt you hack…
How many times do you actually go to lunch with people from your team? Back when, I think my creative group ate out together almost every day. Often these were raucous affairs, with between 4 and 6 men crammed in a booth. Sometimes even more. They were not alcohol-fueled affairs, so no wine and roses nostalgia here. What I’m talking about is camaraderie in the creative department, with a lynch pin being the group lunch. In a way our noon sessions reminded me of the movie Diner, everyone busting each other’s chops, reiterating agency intrigue and debating the office beauties. If many of us were competing on a specific project at work, we were usually able to let all that go.
When assessing copywriters and art directors, I like to talk about the “creative athlete:” those men and women who are fit to create, execute and sell top quality work on a consistent basis. There’s a physical component to doing it well. In addition to being aware and smart one needs to be fit, suited-up, and ready to play. Group lunches played into that idea, fostering a corps de sprit that usually translated into better group dynamics and a better creative group in general. Lunch in lieu of the locker room.
Today a typical lunch for me consists of a quick bite at my desk. Not only am I eating less food I’m doing it alone and in a matter of minutes. When I do go out it is primarily to interview a job candidate or something similar.
Even if I still write copy (player), I’m primarily a creative director (coach). I get that I’m probably not supposed to hang out with my team anymore. After all, I’m the boss –the guy they want to talk about! I also know certain creative folk are solitary by nature. I possess that gene as well. Even so, I love it when I see my staff going out in packs, laughing as they pile into the elevators, heading for this diner or that bar. I think it’s a sign of a healthy creative department, if not a fit company.