When I was first hired as the Production Designer at Actionable, the website you’re currently visiting didn’t exist. After reading the job description, I visited what was, at the time, Actionable’s only website, Actionable Books, which looked a lot different just ten months ago. I saw that Actionable offered a combination of book summaries, which I learned later is what started the business in the first place, and something called Actionable Workshops.
From where I was standing, I saw a company based around insights taken from books. I thought: I love reading, and I’ve always wanted to work closely with the publishing industry. This could work. So I modified my cover letter to suit the job description, and applied for the position.
Fast forward a week or two later. I’d gone through the process of being interviewed by the founder of Actionable, Chris Taylor, and my soon-to-be manager, Anna Schmohe. In addition to having delightfully friendly, and surprisingly honest conversations with each of them, I was given a few freelance tasks to test my ability to do the job I was applying for. It was at this time that Anna revealed to me that the company was rebranding, and that she’d send me updated working files.
When I received the files from Anna, I started to feel a little overwhelmed.
The new brand was absolutely stunning: bright, simple, with imagery that revolved around ampersands, quotation marks, and asterisks—things that a graphic designer would be familiar with and excited about. But there were four brands… Four! Each of them had a name that started with Actionable, and while I was familiar with Actionable Books (the company I had applied to work for), I had no idea what the heck Actionable Conversations or Actionable Consultants were. I decided to put my burning questions aside and complete the tasks at hand, focusing on my goal: to get hired by the nicest people I’d ever interviewed with.
Spoiler alert: I was hired. Before I knew it, it was my first day on the job. I woke up, rolled out of bed and walked two steps into my new office (the team all works remotely, and I lived in a studio apartment at the time). Throughout my first week of work, I gradually began learning more about the business: Who do we work with? What do we offer to our partners? What do we offer our online audience? What the heck do we do to make money?
It must have taken me six weeks to finally get to the bottom of it, but when I did, it went something like this: We work with established business consultants, and some of the friendliest in the business. We offer our consulting partners a platform that will help them elevate their client relationships, measure behavior change, sustain learning impact, and scale their business. We offer our online audience free insights, tips and tools to help them apply our valuable knowledge to their processes on an individual level.
My first thought was, in all honesty, what the heck is a business consultant? My second thought was, I’m in over my head. There must have been some mistake. I don’t fit in here.
Thankfully, the day-to-day projects I’d been assigned were distant from the core of our business, and I felt happily connected to the medium more than the content—social media graphics, stock imagery, marketing initiatives, and infographics (chalk full of statistics and words I, admittedly, didn’t quite understand at the time). Again, I tried to push my worries aside and focus on my new goal: doing my job well, while implementing change and applying new ideas where I saw fit.
Over the course of these past ten months, I began to see parallels between what we do as a business, and what I value as a person. I realized that the thing about working for a company whose mission is to improve the world of work, is that “the world of work” applies to literally anyone with a job.
I started to reflect on my past experiences, and my friends’ past experiences, and all of the issues we were facing as young people looking to make an impact in the workplace.
I realized that our partners—business consultants and coaches—existed to combat these issues, and that they were doing so with our product, Actionable Conversations. I imagined how much communication between myself and my previous employer could have improved had they invested in a tool like Actionable Conversations.
And then I came to a conclusion. I don’t work for Actionable in an effort to fulfill a job description and get paid. I work for Actionable in order to be a part of something so much bigger: making the workplace better for everyone, but on a personal level, making it better for people like me. For people who are facing issues that I once faced, for millennials who feel judged or misunderstood by their employers, and for young people who see a change worth making and have a hard time moving forward.
Recently, something really incredible happened. My best friend, who works for a company that places a lot of emphasis on the importance of their culture, came to me with questions about the ROWE at Actionable. Her goal was to approach management with ideas that would improve their work environment, starting by providing her team with more mobility and freedom to work around their own unique needs. She asked me a ton of questions, pulled quotes from hundreds of our blog posts, and is using Actionable as her inspiration as she moves forward with her master plan: to make herself, her team, and her entire office happier, healthier and more productive.
Just like that, the work I was doing took shape and played out in front of my very eyes. Due to my place in the business, I don’t often see our end product, Actionable Conversations, being implemented in order to drive lasting behavior change. However, I feel so much pride when the people in my everyday life are able to see clearly that what we’re doing as an organization has value. Because it does have value. Not just to business consultants, and not just to people in suits and ties, but to people like me.