Harriet Dixon 26 September 2017

Just like Wimbledon, inconsistent weather and a sea of ‘out of office’ messages, there is no tradition more honoured than the business annual away day.

At Speed, we find this day a great opportunity to get together to work creatively and collaboratively with our colleagues, with the perspective to think about how we work, what we can improve and what we all want for our agency.

Perhaps the most important take-out from the day was the reinforcement that although we are a team, we are a collection of individuals who work together with different styles.

Before the big day, we completed personality tests to find out more about what our drivers are; how we like to interact with others and what makes us tick. The results? It turns out we’re an agency split almost 50/50 between diplomats and sentinels. So, what does this mean in practice?

In the test we took, diplomats were characterised as being advocates, mediators, protagonists and campaigners. On the other side, the etymology of sentinel is “to perceive, watch, feel”, with logic the common thread throughout their thought processes.

These combination of characteristics are not too surprising when you consider our profession.

On the diplomat side, we develop exciting creatives and campaigns for our clients, with initiative, intelligence and insight underpinning all we do. But it’s not just about the big ideas: it’s also our role to champion our clients to media, influencers and stakeholders, provide solid consultancy and focus on how we can grow our clients’ circle of influence and impact in a considered and strategic way.

For the sentinels, it’s about listening, challenging the status quo, interrogating briefs, reimagining and reinventing new ways of doing things. This is all underpinned with logic and rationale, thinking about how an idea can build from a brainstorm to a full-scale multi-channel campaign.

That’s what makes an agency interesting: it would be boring if we were all the same. It’s about bringing the right personalities and characters together to offer our clients the best team for them, with a mix of skills, experience and the special something each individual brings.

Whether we were defined as diplomats or sentinels, we hold the same values and share a vision of the type of agency we want to be: dynamic, challenging and brave.