Nice guys finish first

February 7, 2021

Typically, the most combative, least agreeable competitor wins in the short run. But in a company where position isn't paramount and the collective goal is for the better advancement of all, the narrative is switched. Hopefully, this new way of working allows the nice guys to finish first.

Another early and potentially naïve perception (probably going to be a thread of these articles), but I think being generally a group of “nice guys” has played out pretty well for starting our business. The old adage of nice guys finishing last seems to correlate closer to the individual than the group.

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When battling for a position, whether in the dog-eat-dog business world, or the last parking space at the National Trust, conceding to your opponent is often seen as a sign of weakness and ultimately, the least agreeable (shorthand for arsehole) typically wins. This has always been a sticking point for me. I come from a long line of soft shites who are more likely to curse under their breath at a safe distance than risk confrontation. I have convinced myself this is more based on my “live and let live” mantra rather than being an aforementioned softy.

I now find myself in the interesting position of “creative director” with my fellow directors/best friends in which individual development is not challenged, but championed. This creates a positive internal dynamic of one-up-man ship towards the shared goal of the collective - To build a creative agency where we can do the work we love.

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So we’ve got the internal operations covered, everyone holds the door for everyone else and we all walk through together, but what about the work? Leaning on our collaborative, open-minded approach to building relationships in our personal lives has made us extremely susceptible to being taken for a ride by advantageous onlookers. However, and more importantly, it has made building a supportive and engaged network (arguably, the most crucial part of a start-up) second nature. Our agenda is to work with people we admire; you can usually spot the ones worth their salt, and apparently they seem to subconsciously gravitate toward each other. There is an obvious element of trust and an acceptance that, occasionally, you’re going to get burnt. But following a lifetime of such burnings, the reward is invariably greater than the risk.

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As they say, so far, so good; we are expanding our network with like-minded individuals who share our values and recognise that business as usual is old hat. We are developing a new way of working. One that prioritizes relationships over money and talent over experience. Hopefully, getting the nice guys to finish first for once.

Thanks to everyone who has supported the cause so far and that includes you for reading this, thank you fellow reader, this little kiss is here for you.

Jack x