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Culture of Friends

Erin Little

It is such a small world. And everyday it is growing smaller. Everyday I connect with someone random, and find out they know someone I grew up with, I am reminded of how incredibly precious building relationships can be both personally and professionally. I was at brunch with a (newly-made) friend of mine, and it turns out she knew several of my  coworkers at WalkerSands. She was so ecstatic about the fact I had started working with them, not only because of her working relationship with WalkerSands but also the people she was happy to call friends. As she was smiling, I felt even more excited about the fact I have landed with a company that holds such a similar spirit to what my friends embody: innovative, creative, and entrepreneurial.

Would you do business with your friends?

Most people would say they would not do business with friends. I disagree. I think it's an awesome idea. I can always tell my friends yes or no. I think about their best interests. I listen to them. I like doing projects and working with good people because it makes sharing your life and your passions so much easier to manage. You have mutual interests. For my generation, the idea of friendship is an extensions of collaboration, not a definition of how you know someone. Companies that understand this need from my generation, and want to work with other cool people are considered thought leaders in this regard. TOMS, TED, IDEO are all highly regarded for their level of professionalism and that cultural fit that leaves you wondering, "Man, how did they land that gig?"

The Company You Work for is Part of Your Personal Brand

I recently attended the the AMA BrandSmart conference here in Chicago and was awe-struck at how so many of the marketers forgot the greatest asset to any company is the people who work for them. Your greatest evangelists are always the employees who love you the most, and are willingly to go the extra mile to make your clients happy and the business grow. Your success is theirs! I spoke to one presenter, Jody Friedericks, VP of Creative at DMI, about how she reminded me of my passion to music, and growing up around friends who made a living off being a musician or creative. Her business card even gave her favorite song, "High Tide of Low Tide" by Bob Marley. Just another way to connect her experience, and her profession, with something pretty much all of us can relate to: music. And yet I don't find it surprising that's the person I identified most strongly with: I would want to be friends with her.

We don't choose our friends from their resume (thankfully so). But I'm happy to know that at a company like WalkerSands, I am in a culture of friends interested in doing amazing things all day long.