Your Culture Defines You, So You Should Define It First
In late 2018 we began having conversations around our focal point for 2019.
Just coming out of some heavy focus sessions, we had spent quite a bit of time making sure our processes aligned with our purpose. While highlighting some issues we needed to work on, it also helped us build better communication internally and fortified relationships between our teams. It was a no brainer we should spotlight our culture in 2019 and try and help our community understand what culture really is.
Culture is an evolutionary process, not a timeline or a checklist. It is an invisible powerful force and coercive persuader. It helps us stay true to our purpose. It is built upon the set of shared values that makes us us. It is why we love where we work. Because if we don’t love our company, how can we make our customers love it?
At Savage, our purpose is to revolutionize corporate America, one company at a time. Unleash the inherent good in their business. To support our purpose, our values of SMART, FRESH, and HUMAN also have behaviors that help us stay aligned to it all. Each value is important, but we needed to define them by the actions and behaviors we believed were crucial to our culture. We created purpose cards for each behavior so we could publicly recognize when a Savage has lived one out loud.
Our SMART (be indispensable) value has these three associated behaviors: Respect Business, Ask Better Questions to Get Better Answers, and Speak Up and Add to the Conversation. One recipient of the Respect Business card received it by working really hard in a tough situation while remaining calm and pleasant at the same time. Having a great work ethic and attitude, especially in the face of constant interruptions and fires that have to be put out, is going above and beyond. A new Savage recently received the Ask Better Questions card for her attention to detail in a client meeting. She was not afraid to ask all the necessary questions needed for a project and then got it done seamlessly thanks to all of the information she had going in.
FRESH (be crazy brilliant) is represented by Seek Different Perspectives, Stay Curious, and Bring Outrageous Ideas to Fuel Change. One of our most savage Savages was given the Seek card by a partner at our firm for his open heart, mind, and attitude. “You’re always willing to share your perspective in brainstorms, in how you react to, and add to, the creative process, and for your infectious energy!” Another card read, “Always thinking of new ideas to reinforce our purpose and our culture. From videos to fun committee to donuts, thanks for having an upbeat attitude” reinforced the Bring Outrageous Ideas behavior.
HUMAN, which we all are, can be seen in our behaviors as Choose Kindness, Share Your Passion, Deliver Experiences That Wow, and Give Praise Admit Mistakes. You can see this in a client meeting when the Senior Account Manager has every need met before the client even asks for it. Or when a Savage shows up for two weeks straight, working her tail end off with bronchitis, because she had a deadline to meet. (Hers was changed to Share your Badassness!). Once a Savage was vulnerable in sharing how she realized her behavior was affecting others and openly talked to her team about the steps she was taking to change. Having hard conversations about the mistakes we make and not feeling like we will be punished for them is a culture we are proud to have.
Culture is defined as the customs, arts, social institutions, and achievements of a particular nation, people, or other social group. Savages are defined by the way we treat each other and our business. We define ourselves as creators, dreamers, shapers, and shakers. We’re high-five collectors, bad-word sayers, and truth-slingers. We’re vulnerable inner children and tough mothers. We are all Savages and we are all different. The one thing we have in common? We’re smart. We’re fresh. And we’re 100% human.