Teams Built on Trust Have Exponential Power

 
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I’m sometimes asked, when will there be enough women on the supreme court? And I say ‘When there are nine.
— Ruth Bader Ginsberg

In the early weeks of our internship at SimplyBe. Agency, there were moments we were left alone together in the office as the rest of the team left for meetings or took phone calls in a neighboring room. We used these occasions to sneak in short conversations about the work we were doing, and our initial impressions of the agency.

One of our first conversations revolved around what it was like to work in an all-female environment. Online, SimplyBe. presented as a bubbly, collaborative, and empowered place—the kind of environment that felt a little too good to be true at first glance. We knew this wasn’t representative of the types of experiences we’d get after graduation, and agreed that if nothing else, working here for three months would be a novel experience.

We couldn’t have been more wrong.

SimplyBe. Agency is run by six amazing women, who show up IRL exactly as they do online. And the agency is not only a stunning representation of a modern American workplace, but a template for future businesses everywhere. We’re leaving our internship stronger professionals, leaders, and women than we walked in just three short months ago.

Debunking the Catty Bosslady Parable

We’ve been conditioned to tread lightly when coming into a new workplace, and stay hyper aware of pre-existing dynamics. SimplyBe. upended that conditioning pretty quickly. Our first day was a whirlwind. From meeting the team to getting familiar with clients to learning our new responsibilities, we knew were in for an exciting quarter right from the start.

One moment in particular, stuck out for us both. Like most first days, Jessica took a moment to review the company rules and policies. While some were standard — don’t be tardy, dress for success — there was one we didn’t expect: “Gossip is gross.”

Simply Be. has a strict zero tolerance policy for gossip. PERIOD. Seems like something that could go without saying, right? But all too often because it’s NOT said is exactly why people end up ignoring it. This can be the demise of any functioning organization. What kind of work can you expect to produce when your team is constantly putting each other down behind each other’s backs? It’s innately counterintuitive to the concept of teamwork.

All-female environments are often colored with misconceptions that women will be catty and competitive with each other. But we need to give ourselves more credit. At Simply Be. there is more than enough to go around (seriously, we’ve been busy). We work hand in hand, rather than head to head. And for this, we are able to create true magic.

Rewriting Girl Code

Anyone that’s worked at a start-up knows that the lessons come hard and they come fast. Some of the most valuable things we’ve learned go way beyond skills we’ll put on our resumes.

This team hustles. But no matter how hectic things get, they always make time to check in on each other. They’ve even built it into their weekly all-hands meeting. All too often, people have a clear cut line between their “work” and “real” selves. But this goes against everything we believe at SimplyBe. Obviously, carry yourself with professionalism at work, but don’t stifle everything that makes you...well, you!

Simply Be. has cultivated an environment where the women who work here are empowered to show up as their whole, authentic selves. It’s what we call being integrated. Who we are from 9-5 are the same people we are from 5-9. It’s a true testament to the overarching mission of this agency. When you make space for vulnerability, you set the foundation for trust. And we’ve seen for ourselves that teams built on trust have exponential power.

Parting Gifts

So while we may be exiting the SimplyBe. bubble for now, our work is definitely not over. We will be deleted from the slack channel and our agency emails will eventually get canceled, but the greater work of SimplyBe. continues in how we bring what we’ve learned into future work environments.

A FEW THINGS WE’LL TAKE TO-GO:

  • Bringing your most authentic self to work is always enough.

  • Don’t underestimate your power to have an impact on those around you.

  • Don't wait for others to acknowledge you for you to acknowledge others.

The hard work has already been done. SimplyBe. recognized that the world is craving compassion and authenticity in the workplace and took action to fill the void. It’s now up to us to continue to spread these values to whatever pockets of the world we make our mark on.