(This is the second post in a three-part series by Idea Grove’s CEO describing the agency’s core values and how they guide its relationships with clients and employees.)
In my last post, I described the origin of Idea Grove’s core values. These values are creativity, respect, energy, accountability, teamwork and empathy.
The first letters of these words form the acronym CREATE, helping us to remember that in order to be successful, we must CREATE Every Day.
Today I’d like to explore our first three values to give you a better idea of what it’s like to work with, or for, Idea Grove.
Our first value is creativity.
Another way to say this is: “We are idea-makers, not order-takers.”
Clients don’t come to Idea Grove for an extra set of hands to do work for them. They come to us for our big ideas and bold imaginations. They come to us to help them seize opportunities where others see obstacles.
We expect every Idea Grove employee to embrace and share their creativity freely. This doesn’t mean that everyone has to be an amazing artist or a great writer. Creativity also can mean being resourceful in solving a problem. There are a million ways to show creativity in our relationships with our clients and with each other. We try to find a new way every day.
We do this despite the fact that our bosses, or our clients, will sometimes shoot down our best ideas. We encourage our team to use that rejection as motivation to keep trying.
Don’t be discouraged; persist.
To paraphrase the comedian Steve Martin, be so good that eventually your ideas can no longer be ignored.
Our second value is respect.
Respect means different things to different people. As does disrespect. Since the dawn of ‘80s hip-hop, it seems like being “dissed” is the ultimate sin.
“Respect me.” “Don’t disrespect me.” Or as Al Capone put it: “Don’t mistake my kindness for weakness.”
That’s not the kind of respect we’re talking about. We never want people to have their guards up in that way. At Idea Grove, you can mistake our kindness for weakness if you choose to. We will still be kind.
There are so many ways, large and small, that Idea Grove team members show respect to colleagues and clients. I won’t attempt to enumerate them all.
But I’ve noticed something that respectful acts have in common: performing them almost never adds more than a moment or two to your day.
It is rarely an imposition for us to:
- Smile, be polite, say thank you;
- Communicate openly and honestly;
- Encourage people to express their ideas, and take the time to listen to them;
- Respond to calls and emails promptly;
- Show up on time for meetings;
- Respect other people’s space, control your volume, use your headphones;
- Don’t nitpick or micromanage;
- Offer praise freely.
Niceties are called that because they make our lives nicer. We encourage our team to embrace their power and importance.
Our third value is energy.
When we say we value energy, we don’t mean we expect our employees to run around the office and bounce off the walls like crazy people. We want them to exhibit passion for the work that drives them -- even if they’re not obvious about it.
The 19th-century novelist Benjamin Farjeon wrote, “When passion is demonstrative, it is far less enduring than when it lies hidden in the soul.”
Still waters run deep. You don’t need to put on a show at Idea Grove. Our employees’ energy comes through in their productivity and the quality of their work. It comes through in their consistent and enduring commitment to excellence.
Our team’s energy is the fuel that drives our business. We all need to contribute our share of that fuel to the larger team.
When our folks are sick, having problems at home, or otherwise not at their best, we understand that the share of fuel they provide will be less than on other days, and that’s fine. Their colleagues will help them. And the favor will be returned when the shoe is on the other foot.
We log our billable hours at Idea Grove, as employees at agencies typically do. But we don’t measure our work, our effort or our energy in coffee spoons. We give freely, we take freely, and we reach our goals together by doing our best.
That’s the kind of energy that helps our clients grow their businesses, and that will grow our agency in the process. When we adhere to our core values, we become a partner for our clients and a family for our employees. The path is clear and the future is bright.
In my final post in these series, we’d discuss our other three CREATE values: accountability, teamwork and empathy.