At Actionable, we strive to live out our company values every day. These 5 core values are not merely put up on a (virtual) wall and then ignored, or treated as some unattainable ideal state. As our Founder and President Chris Taylor often says, “ideas are only valuable when applied,” so we work hard to apply our values to our activities on a regular basis. We also use them as a framework for recognizing our team members who demonstrate these values in action, both informally in team meetings and on Slack, and formally during our monthly town halls.
Last week, we hosted our 2nd Annual Partner Summit, an event that brought together members of our Actionable Consulting Partner (ACP) community from all over the world. It was an incredible opportunity for the staff to connect face-to-face with our partners and colleagues. As a virtual organization, it was also a rare opportunity for many of us to be in the same room as the people we work closely with every day. It was an incredible event for many reasons, not least of which that it was an opportunity to see our team values in action.
I’ve worked in a handful of organizations that claimed to have values. They were written down in the employee handbook and everything. But without action, they were just hollow claims, and had little to no impact on the culture of the workplace. We don’t have this problem at Actionable.
Here are just a few of the ways we saw our company values in action at Summit (note: this post was a team effort to pull together, and not all of these thoughts are my own, though I enthusiastically agree with everything shared):
Adjust on the fly and make it work. It doesn’t have to be perfect, so long as it does what we said it would and we’re not hurting anyone in the process.
MacGyver It is one of my favorite values, because it speaks to the learning culture that is alive and well at Actionable. It allows you to say, “I don’t know how to do that. Yet.” And then go figure it out. The “adjust on the fly” part of the value is also exhilarating (ok, and sometimes a little bit stressful) because we’re solving problems in real time, as they arise, and making it happen.
We set-up to capture some short video clips of our guests as they arrived, but found that interest was low (who wants to get right on camera after a flight/when they haven’t even dropped off their luggage in their room? Not many people). So our production crew picked up and moved to just outside our main meeting room. A small adjustment that had great results.
One of our keynote speakers, Peter Burow of Neuropower Group, changed the topic of his presentation at the last minute, based on feedback and conversations he’d had throughout the week with attendees. His talk was incredible—you could see the energy in the room ramp up as people started making connections to their businesses and lives. It was hilarious, profound, personal, and practical, and wrapped up with some highly Actionable insights (I will definitely be writing in the future about Burow’s work on Core Belief Profiles—stay tuned for that, it’s fascinating stuff!).
Humble and Hungry
We don’t have the time or patience for ego and posturing. We’re doing work that matters; work that’s possibly never been done before. We’re going to make mistakes, but we’re going to make them fast, learn from them, and move on to the next challenge.
You could tell that delivering the best experience possible to our consultants was everyone’s primary focus. Although we all made the effort to take the necessary time that we needed to decompress or take care of ourselves, spending mornings, lunch hours, breaks and dinners with consultants, helping out with the event, or just getting our day-to-day projects done seemed like a no-brainer for everyone.
The “no egos” rule was evident last week, both in terms of staff, who were willing to jump in wherever needed to help get things done, and with our consultants who are an incredibly smart, engaging, and personable group. It was amazing what a difference that makes!
Doing Work that Matters
We’re not interested in hiding behind the busy work. When we’re working, we want to be working on projects that genuinely make a difference. The work that matters isn’t easy, and requires us to grow outside our comfort zone, daily. It can be painful and messy, but the alternative is quiet stagnation. And none of us are interested in that.
Our Head of Content, Alyssa Burkus, was the master of helping us all get clarity on the process and objectives of the week, pushing the team to think beyond the obvious. The Summit Team came together to discuss the flow of the day and the experience for the ACPs over and over again until we got it right. Making sure the ACPs had the right, best, and most personal experience was (and continues to be) critical.
The marketing team took advantage of our time together to talk through our 60-day plan, keeping our key goals and objectives top of mind, and using what we were hearing at summit to keep us engaged and give new inspiration to what we had planned.
Ask me Anything
Candor and transparency over appearances. I’ll answer any question I can, or explain why I can’t. I’ll answer honestly. Respectfully, but honestly.
The team was available and open to assist and answer any questions our ACPs may have had (and internally as well). We also had a handful of new hires on site (ranging from just over a month on the job, to one member who was there on her second week!), and seeing them dive in was incredible. They were available for questions, and would find someone who knew the answer if it was out of their expertise.
I think there was a very open/available vibe from the whole team, but the clinics on Friday practically applied this value. We set up stations to make key staff members available for answering questions and offering advice, on subjects ranging from how to use our content and branding, to personal productivity and tech support.
This is a pack, and no place for a lone wolf. We work independently, but think first of the team. “What did I learn, and how can I share it?” “Who else could add value to this project?” The Who of the journey is as important as the Where or the How.
Being at Summit really solidified this value/what we already know: that Actionable + ACPs = better together. Being able to share branding info, the platform demo, talk through selling (and how consultants are doing it) helps us all be better. For the consultants, I think it was useful to gain a better understanding of all of the support and resources we have available to them, as well as the resources they have in each other (i.e., selling strategies, practicing demos with each other). For us as a team, it was a good reminder of how getting regular feedback on what they need is so important for us to provide the best support.
Seeing everyone dive in to make the Summit an incredible event was a reminder for me that everyone at Actionable is setting a high bar for their work, which is amazing. It was a great event because of the collective effort of everyone on the team.
As we continue to grow and evolve as an organization, keeping our values as a constant point of focus will help us stay on the right track.
We may stumble, stray from our path, or mess things up along the way, but living out our core values in action—in the work we do every day—will guide us toward our goals, and ensure we have a great time doing it. Watching our company values in action at Summit also deepened my understanding and connection to our culture as an organization—we are striving to make the world of work better for everyone, and to do that we need to start with ourselves. It was inspiring, and made me even more committed to the work that we do (which I hardly thought possible, but there you have it).
I challenge you to think about the values in your organization. Make your own list of how your team is living out those values in action, call them out, and strive to do better each day. The results can be profound.
Editor’s Note: I’d like to shout out those members of our happy tribe who were unable to join us at the event. We missed you dearly, and can’t wait to see you IRL at the next one. Sending you all virtual hugs.