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Published Veröffentlicht 06/03/2024

We are the Good Folks 

By Adeline Goh

The past two years have really been my rite of passage after stepping in as the general manager of Allison Singapore. In more ways than one, I’ve grown to appreciate why and how the act of “walking the talk” can motivate and inspire the team to work better and allow our clients to witness our commitment to action. 

For an agency that prides itself in being Builders at its core, we know the foundation for any iconic structure is our People; and our Culture is the cement that binds. Cultivating pride and trust in an organization takes more than what we say or hang on the wall in fancy letters. It’s all about distilling and owning the values that drive passion in everything we do and help us muster resolve in times of adversity. It’s all about seeing it in action, starting from the top and bubbling up from the bottom.  

We have gone through the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic and today, many will muse that those days of masking up and social distancing seem like a distant memory. But a lot has changed since then. People rank flexi-work arrangements as the top job consideration alongside career progression and remuneration. CEOs across the world cite organizational culture as having the most important influence on financial performance. Many senior agency practitioners and APAC client communication leads have shared that employees have grown to become their No. 1 stakeholder. As one of them put it to me recently: “They are not just our greatest asset but also the living embodiment of our brand, with the ability to profoundly influence our business.” 

A good financial report card is the direct result of having a well-oiled and engaged team. Many leaders make the mistake of letting the numbers dictate executive decision-making. Often this leads to undue stress placed on revenue generators, and in some cases, cost-cutting becomes the easy fix. Without a team that believes in what they do, where they spend up to eight to 12 hours of their time every day, why they put up with the daily grind, performance targets will forever be inventions made up by the bean counters. 

I joined Allison at the end of 2021. And in what you’d call my “honeymoon year,” most of my time and efforts were put into gaining the confidence of my team, hoping they would soon believe in my leadership. It was professionally life-changing – being naturally an introverted, analytical person – I was like a fish out of water fronting office-wide meetings and social occasions.  

I’ve learnt that being believable – not simply “being authentic,” as it has become an overused phrase – is all that matters. It’s never easy earning trust and respect, but I’ve realized having a strong grounding in sound professional values and letting people see this in action helps you establish genuine connections. The team will then buy into what you believe is the right path for them and the organization.  

I’ve spent most of my life wielding words for a living, working at consultancies that advise clients on managing reputations and perceptions through effective communications. The irony is that sometimes we fail at communicating well with our very own teams and putting people first. Through the years, the agency world has suffered its fair share of reputational issues (e.g., employee overwork and burnout, putting profits ahead of people, etc.). There’s less glamour and shine attached to an agency career these days. The cynics among us observe that clients go where the good agency folks are and are not simply attracted to big agency logos.  

At Allison in Singapore, we try to remind ourselves every day about why we choose to build our careers at the agency. I believe it’s a simple formula for success – we all just want to do great work with great people and great clients. I’d like to think of ourselves as Good Agency Folk. Because People and Culture define who we are. And this should always be the reason why clients want to work with us. 

Adeline Goh is general manager at Allison Singapore.

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