On Waffle Wednesday 17.2. we had the wonderful Pirjo Airaksinen as a speaker. Airaksinen has had a long career with television programs and commercials. She has been the head of Nelonen Media’s domestic programs and the program director of Nelonen channels. Airaksinen has been involved in several honorary positions and is a member of the Board of the Finnish Film Foundation and is one of the founding members and chairman of the Finnish Audiovisual Producers Association. Currently, Airaksinen is working as Superson’s head of culture.
Superson is a marketing agency known for its innovative business model, where instead of employees on payrolls, creative work is done by selected freelancers. They have two offices, one in Helsinki and the other in Singapore. In total, they have about 600 experts around the world. Superson wants to create a new era of marketing communications and be its forerunner. At Superson’s core lies the question “How to create a winning team?”.
Superson’s success factors:
Expert model – the best brain for the job
The aim is always to build the best possible team for the customer’s needs. Superson approximately 600 experts around the world, so in many cases the teams are made up of very different top professionals in their field.
To understand the problems, you need to understand that specific industry/business. There are innumerable experts from a myriad of starting points and they themselves have struggled with the same problems as customers, so they are the best in their experience to help the customer with their problem.
“The Superson way” – a culture of continuous learning
A new way of working together with clients and experts has been created. Superson has kind of a “road map” that goes through the project. Superson constantly provides opportunities for employees to learn. In addition, there is a monthly “Fuck up afternoon” -meeting where your own failures are shared with others and this way others can also learn from them.
FAIRNESS, HUNGER, IMAGINATION & JOY
These values have been created together by employees and experts and are reflected in everything Superson does.
How to create a winning team?
What to look for in an individual?
These 4 C’s are key elements of working life skills in every business.
How to create value?
If there is no trust between team members, experts and clients, there is no point in doing anything. Trust needs to be earned and it takes time to build. It is very important to treat other people the way you would like to be treated yourself. Be honest, keep your word and make a concrete agreement with the client and the freelancers. Once things are written on paper, everyone understands the goals and there will be no ambiguities. Be human and give freedom and responsibility. Giving freedom and responsibility increases trust. Be transparent, efficient and fair. “No bullshit bingo.”
Surround yourself with positive people. Positivity is catching on and difficulties are also easier to manage. There should always be time for a little foolishness. Creativity thrives when working is fun.
Working together produces results. Superson strives to work as a team with experts and customers. In this way, responsibilities and goals are shared among everyone. There is no use of a normal setup where the client and team are on different sides of the table, but the intention is to be on the same side and go together towards the same goals. Clients see the whole process from start to finish and this way maximizes that everyone is sure to understand how the project is progressing and what is being created. Decisions can also be made at the right time, on a fast schedule. Working together also eliminates unnecessary questioning, doubt, excuses, and wrong moves. Working together is the future.
Challenging conventions and problem solving
The core task of the projects is problem solving, for which the customers pay. Superson believes in challenging conventions. Things should always be done in the best possible way. This means continuous learning, sharing the best tools, successes and failures in the workplace and in customer encounters.
Freelancers are experts that should be respected
Freelancers often work alone and Superson wants to create a community for them and a safe place to share their affiliations and problems with others. Superson hosts parties a few times a year that freelancers are more than welcome to attend. Freelancers are experts whose knowledge and skills should be respected. With their help, Superson gets to build the best possible team for the customer’s needs, whose experts are professionals from different ages, different locations, different backgrounds and different fields.
Airaksinen has worked in the television industry, where it is very common for work teams to be assembled from freelancers. In the field of marketing communications, it is rare and often large companies have their own permanent marketing teams. The weakness in that, however, is that they are only able to sell to customers what they happen to have in the company at the moment. Superson is not in the same position in this matter, but they are able to provide whatever the customer needs.
Superson’s secret weapon: PROJECT COACH
Superson’s secret weapon for creating functional teams is project coach Emmi Kupari. When client teams are built from diverse experts with different backgrounds, a project coach is the cornerstone of a successful project. The coach helps the team in case of any problems and guides the team to the right route, to do things the Superson way. The coach is involved in every stage of production and ensures that the project progresses as desired. Airaksinen believes that there would be a lot to learn from sports coaches in the business sectors.
No matter how rich, talented, awesome you are, what matters most is how you treat other people. When you treat others well, you get the same back.
Live streaming from event here.
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