One of the few things I do as a leader that I cannot delegate is to help create The A Group’s internal culture. That’s one of the most important jobs in any organization that often goes ignored because we tend to equate our mission with our culture. Mission tells us what we should be doing, but our culture provides the pathway to how we get there. As The A Group has grown from a couple of people 10 years ago into almost 30 people strong, I have tried to be deliberate in creating an internal culture that aligns with our mission. Our culture is framed by a set of value statements that I repeat ad nauseam.
We value innovation. We are a solution-based company. Innovation is the heart of what we do from marketing best practices, communication trends to technology new frontiers. One of the reasons we grew during a down economy is because we were able to spot trends and innovate to meet the new challenges.
We value service. We serve our clients. We exist to enable and resource our clients to grow and thrive and, hopefully, even anticipate their needs.
We value collaboration. If you’re not a team player, you will not last long with us. We believe that the collective wisdom and experience of the entire team, and that of our clients’, will produce a much better product. People are encouraged to fight for their ideas, to push back on strategies but to ultimately decide as a team how to make something good, better. Even though we have two different divisions working together, marketing and technology, both teams come together in a collaborative environment. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
We value risk. We are not afraid to fail. As I leader, I’m more afraid of not trying something new and missing the boat on a game-changing strategy or technology, than playing it safe. Often our developers come up with new ideas or features for our online and mobile apps. Even if we don’t deploy them, we green light most ideas.
We value initiative. We tell our teams what we want to accomplish but not how to get there. I have found that if I hire the right people, then I don’t need to come up with the how. If I’m telling my team how to do their jobs, then I’ve failed the organization by hiring poorly.
What’s the best or worst internal culture you have been a part of?