I was to share our core values with the new team members, but here is what happened instead #Inside4C

Yesterday we had our weekly team stand-up. Well, not quite a “stand-up” as it usually takes at least 1 hr and is always a robust mix of reviewing ongoing projects as well as a whole lot of banter. We named it “family meeting” at some point and we probably have to return to that.

I saved my part for the last, with an ‘agenda’ to share progress on our revenue goal for the year, and very importantly, speak to our new team members about our vision for 2025, as well as our core values as an organization.

Since 2016, we had doubled our annual revenue every year since 2016, and we simply wanted to sustain that growth trend. When I shared that earlier in the year with someone who joined then as an intern, she asked why didn’t we target X3 this year since we had repeatedly done X2. I admired her courage and smiled. I knew that as a consultancy and not ‘product-based’, repeating X2 year on year was already a huge feat, but in the light of our goals for the next 3 years, we surely need to figure out XXX. And oh yes, we are almost at the X2 goal already for this year, and surpassed it if you add receivables.

Talking about the next 3 years, let me put this out there for the first time ever. FourthCanvas will be arguably/unarguably one of the Top 10 Brand Design agencies globally by 2025. We have very little time for such an incredibly ambitious goal but yes, we are not going the linear arithmetic progression route. Our radical innovation with talent development, content, storytelling, and strategic positioning will play major roles in this direction.

On sharing our core values, which was the main point of this story, I spoke through how we have come this far, from pre-2015 days, thanks to a set of ideologies, followed by the actual four words that capture it for us today—Openness, Empathy, Potential, and Purpose. I added context and examples to each point and believed I had done well to inspire our new people along these lines. Yes, I achieved that but the responses that followed showed that the impact of restating the values was even bigger on existing team members. I have always believed in restating/reemphasizing underlying statements like this with your team but I had apparently not been doing that enough, as everyone felt like “wow, thanks for sharing that again”.

A screenshot from a FourthCanvas (Google) Doc briefly explaining our core values

I guess that’s something we can borrow from religious settings. The major verses are restated as often as possible, for continuous reminder and meditation. Doing such daily at a startup may start to bore people but key conversations around the vision/mission, why we are here, and core values should be repeated and restated often enough that everyone ponders upon them as often as possible.

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Victor A. Fatanmi

‘Finding my writing’, under the blanket of the known image of a Designer and Agency Founder.