Git ‘R Done…the GRA | MATR Way

December 20, 2012 by Ben Noble

Your Culture is Your Brand

In his forum, twelve years ago, business consultant Jim Collins lamented that executives spend too much time drafting and perfecting value and mission statements rather than “trying to align their organizations with the values and visions already in place.” While defining your mission is important, the most visionary leaders focus on implementing their messages rather than crafting a perfect statement. In his book, Built to Last, Collins makes it clear that aligning your organization to timeless and unchanging core values will drive it forward and allow customers to immediately “get it,” without having to see the values written on the wall.

As an intern at GRA | MATR, I have the unique viewpoint of one that had to quickly grasp the core values without physically seeing them. They might not be on the walls or in the board room, but each member of the team is all too familiar with phrases like “eager to learn and grow,” “people-centric,” and “get s&%t done.” While I originally saw them as nothing more than seven random and potentially conflicting one- liners, I quickly discovered that the tension in the values actually functions to drive the organization forward.

One of the most obvious conflicts lies between the maxims of getting s&%t done and our passion for excellence. It’s obvious that holding yourself to the highest standards possible can oftentimes interfere with your commitment to just buckling down and completing your projects, but the irony is that this conflict actually compels us to consistently be at our best and stay focused. We certainly attempt to do both at the same time, and are often successful in doing so, but on occasion one maxim must supersede the other. In these unfortunate instances, it is passion for excellence that trumps getting s&%t done.

Since we refuse to submit work that does not meet our high standards, we turn to a third core value, authentic in words and actions, to guide us. In these sticky situations we commit to honesty and explain the circumstances to the client before completing the project to our satisfaction as quickly as possible.

For one of our clients we created an integrated campaign that utilized an animated series of videos featuring a fictional spokesperson to boost sales performance internally. However, the original finished project fell short of our own expectations, and we did not feel we could share it with our client. We had the difficult conversation with them and requested an extension. In a quick turnaround, we reworked the videos to meet our own expectations. The pilot animation was well received evidenced by a large percentage of viewers, which led to increased engagement with the campaign website. In the three months that followed, sales have increased by nearly 30% month by month. While we were not proud to ask for an extension, the payoffs of our passion for excellence were definitely worth the wait.

Just three months into a two-year project, staying true to our core values has already allowed us to surpass our anticipated progress.

When businesses align themselves with their vision, rather than just talking about it, it becomes easy for teams to collaborate and create amazing work. We’re excited to see what can happen next!

How has aligning your business to your core values helped drive you forward?

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