When it comes to creating mission, vision, and culture statements, it can be easy to get overwhelmed with the gravity of formally presenting something to the team that will be used to drive all future conversations and decision-making. We knew that we wanted to have culture values that held us accountable: as leadership, as a team, and as a vendor. We knew these values would be the groundwork for hard conversations in the future. We knew we had high expectations for our team, and that these values would set high expectations for us as leaders. So how did we overcome the weight of presenting a comprehensive set of values, and manage to do it in the space of SIX hours?
At OMG, we value testing at all levels of the organization.
Our strategists and specialists are constantly testing new features, optimization methods, and campaign strategies. Our account managers are constantly testing new ways of communicating and serving our clients and client teams. Our processes and team roles are always getting tweaked with improvements. Our policies evolve to support the team in relevant, helpful ways.
As leadership, we handled developing our culture values in the typical OMG way: using our expertise and insight to develop something with a high chance of success, launching it, and then constantly improving while in action.
Because we were four years into building our team before we clearly defined our culture values, we had a lot of experience informing what we knew we did and did not want to be part of who we are.
Four years later, there have only been two tweaks to our values, both to further clarify and define our intentions. Adding ‘world-class’ to our mission statement was the first. World-class is part of our everyday language. We talk about it when evaluating clients, results, and reporting. We consider it when developing processes, policies, and benefits. Sometime in 2018 I had a realization: world-class is core to what we strive to be and a key piece of our internal vocabulary, yet we had no documentation reflecting it anywhere that a new or current team member could reference, or that we could use to objectively hold ourselves accountable.
One of the greatest advantages of our clearly defined culture is the ability for it to hold us accountable in an objective way. We are all inundated with noise, messages, and feedback from all sides. The ability to raise the culture as a universal focus allows us to identify and dig in to the right noise and shut out the rest. In ever-changing industries such as digital marketing and ecommerce, there aren’t always clear benchmarks that define what world-class is. But the fact is that we know when we’re NOT. We know when that’s the path we’re on, and when we’re straying. When we’re committed to being transparent, vulnerable, and accountable, we’re easily able to determine the obstacles and roadblocks that stand in the way of world-class, even and especially if it's ourselves.
As an agency, we strive to be world-class is three core ways, with innumerable trickle effects:
We are determined to only provide services in which we excel. Our industry is one of constant change and adaptation, so we must always be on the path to world-class excellence in process and results.
The world-class team that we’ve built deserves to work with other world-class team members, and nothing less. Our hiring process is specifically designed (and constantly tweaked) to attract world-class candidates, and involves a minimum of ten of our team members in the process to ensure a good culture, team, and job fit.
We understand that we are each responsible for the impact that we have on those we work with internally and externally. A commitment to our culture means a commitment to improving ourselves as blind spots are revealed, and being flexible in roles and responsibilities as the needs of our organization changes.
This world-class standard offers benefits across the board, to every role and every process. Without the willingness to launch and test our culture, and then tweak and refine our message, we could have missed out on four years of intense focus and growth, and guaranteed would have had a lot less fun.