Part 2: Our Culture Revolution – Enter the Manifesto: Our Beliefs & Values

Posted by Luke Kyte
Last updated 15th August 2018

We’re just a normal agency. You may own one. You may work for one. We’re ticking along nicely, picking up new business and growing at a good pace. The team size has upped from 1 to 20 in five years, with plans of reaching 50 by 2021. Everyone seems happy.

But we want more.

Day Zero was the launch of our manifesto. Its aim? To revolutionise our culture, attract amazing talent, and be recognised nationally as a great place to work.

Over the course of the next few months we’ll be taking you to the heart of Reddico, sharing our highs, our lows, and our eureka moments. We’ll be honest and open about everything. What works. What doesn’t. Whether you’re here for inspiration, to watch us fail, or out of sheer curiosity, welcome along.

No hours. No managers. Rules set by the team. Let’s see what happens next.

What’s our manifesto about?

Want to jump straight in? Check out the first half here.

Our manifesto details how we want to run an agency that empowers the team. It’s a 3,000 word document, compiled over several months and with the vision of giving the team responsibility to achieve results in a way that best suits them.

We’re releasing this in two parts.

Firstly, what we stand for. Our vision, our mantra, our purpose, our beliefs, and our values. As mentioned in the previous post of this culture series, we can’t instill these in the team.

They need to believe.

That’s the only way this vision will work. Our recruitment will be driven around bringing onboard new team members who can relate to these values, and embody them.

The second half of the manifesto (scheduled for next week) covers the framework we want to set out. This includes various policies and changes to our workplace dynamic that’ll completely revolutionise how everyone thinks and acts on a daily basis.

Read the first half of our manifesto.

What’s the manifesto’s purpose?

Our manifesto has been created to help us achieve two primary goals:

  • Deliver exceptional results and build amazing relationships for and with our clients. As an agency, we’re results driven. We can’t thrive without them.
  • To create a culture where the team has freedom to work at its best. We don’t want to dictate what people can and can’t do – everyone’s different. So, why should we govern them by the same rules?

Our aim is to find a balance between the two.

How was our vision inspired?

We knew we wanted change.

As detailed in our first post, the culture’s in a good place and the team enjoy what they do – but we felt there was more we could all achieve together. That’s when the idea of a manifesto was first conceptualised.

We were driven to create new values that reflected us as an agency, the culture we wanted to inspire, and ultimately, could be bought into by the whole team.

Tony Hsieh from Zappos, talks about the importance of culture, and how his company filter new hires to ensure only those who believe in the vision stay:

We contacted a branding agency and asked them to come into the office, understand our objectives and our team, and help us identify values that matched our ambition.

Over a series of exercises, the agency spent time with members of the team at all levels, to determine what people enjoyed and where improvements could be made.

This was extremely useful and focused our attention on what actually mattered to the team.

The learnings from these group sessions were invaluable and a lot of what you’ll see in the first part of our manifesto is inspired by our time spent with the branding team.

Going it alone – our values are formed

Unfortunately, the final output wasn’t quite what we had in mind. The values featured a lot of buzzwords and didn’t tie in with what we were expecting. We went back and forth on a few occasions to try and refine these – but eventually decided we were better making a final decision alone.

Despite this, those early sessions had already put plenty into our minds – we now had clarity and a shared vision.

Initially, we sat down and documented 10 values we wanted to be reflective of us. But this was too much. We couldn’t expect the team to try and remember, let alone embody, 10 values into their everyday work attitude.

So, we refined again.

We settled on 6 core areas we wanted the focus to be:

  • Make a real and meaningful impact: On everyone. Clients, the team, the community around us. As we take on larger accounts and grow as an agency, everything must be built around making a meaningful impact.
  • Embrace and drive change: We’re in an ever-changing industry. Change can be scary – but we don’t want to fear it. We want to embrace it and become leaders in the industry.
  • Pursue growth and learning: People can never stop learning. As an agency, we’ve had a lot of growing pains, and there are likely more to come in the future. But we must always pursue that growth, and encourage the team to do the same.
  • Build open and honest relationships: We don’t sugarcoat anything. We’re completely open and honest with our clients and our team. It’s the best way to be. We want to build lasting relationships that help everyone achieve the goals that matter to them.
  • Build a positive team spirit: Team spirit is crucial to client happiness. A happy team delivers better work – so we’ll do whatever we can to inspire an environment that allows everyone to thrive, achieve, and produce incredible results.
  • Be passionate, proud, and determined: If these don’t relate to you, you’re in the wrong industry. You have to be passionate about what you’re doing, proud of the work you submit, and determined to improve and better yourself. We want to create a winning mentality.

Once we nailed our values, the rest seemed to fall into place. Our purpose and mantra was structured around the impact we want to make, whilst the mission is reflective of that people-first agency we’re driven to become.

How will we get the team’s buy-in?

It’s all very well trying to sell it, but how can we make sure the team buys into these values?

By making them a part of everything we do.

As we rollout the framework of our manifesto (which will be released in Part 3), we want to focus on these values and create a real emphasis on their importance. They’ll have a huge part to play in everything we try to achieve.

The team will be involved in much of the decision making, and their thoughts, questions, concerns and doubts addressed – as we look to overhaul the business’ framework.

This video demonstrates three ways to ensure values become core to the culture:

There are many businesses around the world with values that help shape every decision they make. Take Amazon, for example. Their many values perfectly reflect the brand: ‘customer obsession’, ‘invent and simplify’, and ‘insist on highest standards’, to name a few.

That’s the mentality we need to adopt.

What’s next?

In next week’s post, we’ll be focusing on the business framework we want to create. This is centred on what will drive a culture where we hope our team can perform at their best.

It covers:

  • Objectives and goal setting
  • Freedom and flexibility
  • Recruitment strategies
  • Management structure
  • Company transparency

Over the course of the next few months we’ll be working hard to rollout the full manifesto, and (fingers crossed), create a culture that thrives on individual and team empowerment.

Join us next week to see how far we’re going, with full flexibility and no cap on annual leave just a small part on our plans.

Posted by Luke Kyte