As Steve Jobs once quoted, “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”
Well, I just so happen to be one of those people. I found an amazing company to work for, Workshop Digital, doing exactly what I love. The only thing is, I was the first full-time person in this position. Therefore, I had to build my department from the ground up. I was so nervous. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined building my own department—let alone in the field I love the most: Accounting. (Yes, I am a numbers nerd, and I absolutely love it!)
From policies, processes, and procedures to FAQ documents, I am constantly finding additional documentation to build upon within my department. Although I am in the midst of building my department, I have learned quite a bit, and I continually learn more and more with each passing day. There are three key factors that have been instrumental to me in building the accounting department.
First, do not take anything personal. In the short time I have been at Workshop Digital, I have learned not to take anything personally while building the accounting department. Ideas will be vetoed, processes scrapped, forms picked apart, leaving you thinking, “Maybe they don’t like me?” or “I must be doing something wrong.”
Do not give up and do not stop creating.
The truth is this: everyone has their own ideas, and when I present something to the group, they are just trying to find ways to perfect what I have created based on their own ideas. I have laid the foundation; now we work together to build upon this idea. This is not a game of “How do I get people to like me more,” this is about how can I create “Great Work” by collaborating with my colleagues to make my fellow coworkers’ work lives better. That way, my fellow coworkers can feel the same way about their jobs as I do mine.
Second, core work comes first. Although I have been tasked with building the accounting department, my first and foremost job is to maintain the financials for the company. I knew the task of building a department was going to be a lot of work, but I never realized how much. Since taking on this challenge, my calendar has been one of my best friends (most days). I say most days because there are those days, although very far and few in between, when my calendar seems to be ignored and I either have to tackle important issues at that moment or I am asked to do something that takes precedence over what I was working on at that time. Even so, I am sure to add exactly what I am working on that day as to not be disturbed by minimal issues that could cause a disruption in my work chi. Some days are a struggle, but I am slowly learning how to balance my core work with my build-up work.
Finally, never stop presenting ideas; even if they sound senseless. My parents always told me, “No question is a Dumb question.” Well, I carry that with me in all aspects of the meaning. In this case, “No idea is a Dumb idea.” Whether your idea is as small as deciding to use black or blue ink in your documentation, or as large as creating a database to increase efficiency, it offers the opportunity for others to collaborate and build upon your original idea. This “idea metamorphosis” can result in an outcome that would have exceeded anything you would have developed on your own. Also, be sure to take breaks when necessary. Most great ideas come when your face is not stuck looking at a computer screen all day.
All in all, I have been tasked with a huge responsibility, but as long as Workshop Digital continues to put their trust in me, I will continue to build a top-notch accounting department. With 100% honesty and truth, I can proudly say that Workshop Digital is definitely a company I can call home, and this department is a department I can call my own.
Have you ever built out a department in a company from the ground up? Have any good suggestions or feedback? Please comment below or Tweet us at @WorkshopMktg.