Posted: January 11, 2012
Understanding what’s important to you - what you value - is essential to your decision making process.
Whether that be from a personal or professional perspective; these values become the guidelines by which you live, how you conduct business and how you behave.
At VisionPoint, we use our values to determine everything from the type of people we hire to the type of work we take on. They act as guidelines for our culture. They’re used as the bar by which our individual teammates’ performance is measured. They unite us as a group.
We recently revisited our values (as we do from time-to-time) and have added what we’re calling ‘VisionPoints’ to each one. These are shared internally of course, but we thought we’d also post them here to share with our current clients, prospective clients and future team members. Enjoy!
1. COLLABORATIVE: No one can whistle a symphony.
No one achieves greatness alone. We owe a lot to those who came before us as well as those around us. Nothing we do at VisionPoint is one individual's success. We work together as a team, we work together with our client-partners and we’ve all been mentored or taught in one way or another.
2. THOUGHTFUL / STRATEGIC: A reason for every decision.
I tell this story quite a bit. William Hannon, my first design professor at MassArt was an outstanding designer and an equally outstanding business man. The very first thing he told us as he kicked off a semester of brutal critiques, uncomfortably direct communication and unprecedented growth in learning was: "Design is a business. If you want to be an artist, there’s a painting class down the hall you should be in."
What he was saying was that in the world of professional graphic design, you are working to achieve success for your clients, not for your own personal desires. I’ve built my career around this statement, and it’s something we hold dear at VisionPoint.
We do what's right for our clients. We focus on their goals and how we can help them achieve those goals. Our primary goal at VisionPoint is to do whatever we can to make our clients better than they even knew they could be. That’s it.
3. EXCELLENT: Excellence is not an act. It's a habit.
I like to tell my fellow team members: "You're here because you're good. Now show it. Do something you're proud of. Own your work, your clients, your workspace." It's a pretty amazing feeling when you know you've put in a solid day of work and that your teammates and clients truly appreciate you and what you do.
4. DIRECT / STRAIGHTFORWARD: Do what you say. Say what you mean.
Yes, sometimes it’s hard to say what needs to be said. It’s hard to let someone know when they’ve let you down. It’s hard to tell a client that they’re way off base. But it’s absolutely the right thing to do. There’s no room for beating around the bush. Gray area only leads to confusion. And while it may be difficult (it doesn’t have to be btw), being direct and straightforward can be done nicely, and it opens up the path to the right solution.
5. UNITED: Check your ego at the door; everyone is expected to get their hands dirty.
There are no primadonnas at VisionPoint. We’re all hard workers who are passionate about what we do. We see nothing as insurmountable. We take on a LOT here. We face new challenges on a daily basis. We stare them down and beat them into submission. We adapt, we learn, we grow. We support each other and our clients; and we’re willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done right.
6. SELF-DISCIPLINED: Can do, will do, done.
Discipline is a good thing. At VisionPoint we have more than just disciplined people; we foster a culture of discipline. We do not micro-manage. We expect that every individual in this company be disciplined enough to do their job, consistently, and at the highest level.
As Jim Collins writes in his book Good to Great:
When you have disciplined people, you don’t need hierarchy.
When you have disciplined thought, you don’t need bureaucracy.
When you have disciplined action, you don’t need controls.
7. THIRSTING FOR KNOWLEDGE: Knowledge is given and received. Do both.
We're a bright group of talented people. Each of us has coveted skill sets, and many of us have years of experience. But we sure don't know everything. And especially in an industry that is ever-morphing, we need to keep up with trends and tactics so we can best serve our clients.
As much as we are experts, we're also humble students with a passion for learning and improving every single day.
8. EMPATHETIC: Be patient, understanding and inquisitive of others' situations.
If we were all the same, the world would be a pretty boring place. Trying to understand where someone else is coming from is not only a nice thing to do; it also allows us as marketers, designers, engineers and UX experts (‘UXperts’ perhaps?) to create better experiences for the people who our clients are trying to reach. When we know the targets’ situation, where they live, what they do, what and how they consume media and what their goals are, we come up with much better solutions that those same targets will find compelling.
Also, keep these two things in mind: Everyone has a bad day, and no one knows everything. Have patience with clients and co-workers as they learn. We’re all in this together.
9. FRIENDLY: Smile. Small effort, big difference.
Work hard and be nice to people. How we communicate is a BIG part of our brand. From a personal greeting to the way we answer the phone, to the tone of our emails and tweets. A wave, a smile, a 'hello'. None of these take much time, but all are appreciated and go a VERY long way in making our work environment a GREAT place.
Our clients appreciate working with people they like. We’ve been able to foster long-standing, successful relationships with our clients because of the results that we help them achieve, but they’ve also told us that they genuinely enjoy working with us. That’s something we’re proud of.
Photo credit: http://www.nyclu.org/contest