A few months ago, we talked about why company values are so important. To summarize: Your customers REALLY care about your company’s corporate values, and this interest has increased tremendously over the past year, as a result of the current pandemic. During times of major change (hello, COVID…) customers rely on companies they feel they can TRUST, and your company values play a huge role in that level of trust.
Now let’s make it even more personal. Let’s talk about Red Thread Brands’ specific company values, and how we live them every day.
Relationships are so important to us at Red Thread Brands, and our company values definitely have a positive impact on both our internal relationships and our client relationships. In part one of this series, I’m going to discuss how our values serve our INTERNAL relationships: colleague-to-colleague, within the company.
What are our company values? So glad you asked. They are dialogue, solutions, honesty, courage, a fire in the belly, and the joie de vivre. Here’s how they serve our internal relationships.
Both a noun and a verb, “dialogue” is one of my favorite Red Thread values. Webster’s dictionary has several definitions, but I think the two that best apply here are “a conversation between two or more persons,” and “an exchange of ideas and opinions.” Emphasis on “two or more” and “exchange.” In other words, this is NOT a one-sided conversation. Information is flowing in both directions. At Red Thread Brands, we really value this two-way communication style.
What does dialogue look like internally?
At Red Thread, we love to talk! But we also love to listen. As a result, when we have something to say, we say it…and we know that our team members will listen to us. This is a beautiful thing for our internal work relationships because it keeps the conversation flowing at all times. We never feel that we can’t ask a question that’s on our minds. We never worry that we won’t get a response in our written communications to each other. We always know that our teammates will value our ideas and advice.
Collaboration at Red Thread Brands means helpful feedback, fresh ideas, and true teamwork. No one is working in a silo. You can always ask for help, and not only are people willing to help you; they can’t wait! We love working together because with the dialogue flowing, we know that we are at our best as a unified team.
Overcommunication (in a good way!)
In our company, you never have to wonder what’s going on with any account, client, project, or team member. We tell each other and then tell each other again. We would always rather be crystal clear in our communication, even at the risk of being redundant. Better to over-communicate than fail to communicate, right? We definitely think so, and we show it in our daily interactions with each other. So if I have information for one or more of my team members, they’ll probably hear from me on slack, text, email, and in Asana (our project management software)…and I might also mention it in our next team meeting on Zoom. And I know they will only respond with gratitude (“Thanks for the reminder!”), never annoyance.
Webster’s definitions of “solution”that are useful for our context include “an action or process of solving a problem” and “an answer to a problem: explanation.” I think it’s very important to note the word “action” in the first definition. Solutions don’t come passively, which is why Red Thread Brands seeks to ignite passion with action. Equally important to note is that our company value is “solutions,” plural. We know there is almost always more than one way to solve a problem.
What do solutions look like internally?
Eyes on the Prize
Because we value solutions, our team tries to keep our focus on what really matters whenever we encounter a problem. This means doing our best to come at the problem from multiple angles, thinking outside of the box, and never shooting down an idea without giving it careful and fair consideration. It also means not shooting the messenger or pointing fingers when a team member brings a problem to your attention. Problems are never a reason for us to criticize, shame, place blame, or get upset. They are simply hurdles in the race to find those fabulous solutions we know we will discover together.
Work in Progress
Internally, we are always improving our processes. Just because we have one way of doing something, that doesn’t mean it is the BEST way of doing something. Or, just because our current way of doing something may actually be the best way right now, that doesn’t mean it always will be down the line. Since we value solutions as a company, we are constantly reassessing our internal processes and looking for ways to make them more efficient and effective.
I Think I Can
You won’t often hear a Red Thread team member use the word “can’t.” We are more likely to say, “There HAS to be a way.” Solutions are so valuable to us that we persistently search for them, even if they may elude us at first. And if I don’t know the solution to a problem? I’ll ask for help. Focusing on solutions means placing even more importance on teamwork and collaboration because no man is an island (and in our case, no woman is either).
Honesty is defined as “adherence to the facts,” and/or “fairness and straightforwardness of conduct.” At Red Thread, we LOVE facts, and we always try to be both fair and straightforward in our dealings with each other.
What does honesty look like internally?
If you are truly dedicated to being honest, there’s no reason to be opaque. You want to be as clear as possible so that your colleague can understand completely what you are trying to communicate. We embrace this at Red Thread. We don’t beat around the bush; we get straight to the point. We don’t expect each other to find the hidden meaning in a statement, because there is no hidden meaning. And we definitely, definitely don’t lie to each other. We speak the truth, and we make our intentions clear.
Asking for Help
If I can’t do something by myself, I feel no need to pretend that I can. I ask my colleagues for help, and I know they will do the same with me. I am honest about not only my abilities but my limitations as well. As a result, I am constantly learning from my teammates, which creates a beautiful environment for collaboration.
Sharing Ideas (Without Fear of Judgement)
Because my colleagues conduct themselves with “fairness and straightforwardness,” as in Webster’s definition of honesty above, I have no reason to believe that they will judge my ideas unfairly or criticize me behind my back. I can come to the table with my honest opinions, and feel safe to share them with the team. They will give me their honest feedback and will fairly consider anything I feel compelled to propose, challenge, or suggest.
According to Webster, courage is “mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.” Oooh…sounds exciting! And actually, it is. Courage is definitely one of those Red Thread values that unites every single person on our team. Reading that definition kind of gave me chills as a result. Seriously. I mean, if I had to face the zombie apocalypse, THESE are the women I would want by my side. They are not afraid. But how does courage apply to our work environment at Red Thread?
What does courage look like internally?
Willingness to Fail
Oh, failure. So many people try so hard to avoid it. At red thread, we EMBRACE it. That’s right; we are not afraid to fail. In fact, I’ve heard our fearless leader Chris say on MULTIPLE occasions that she HOPES we fail, that she is actually worried if we don’t mess up on occasion. Why? Because if you never fail, it means you aren’t trying new things; you’re just doing what you’ve always done because it’s safe. Valuing courage at Red Thread means we are ready to face difficulty (and our own personal fear of failure) in pursuit of better solutions for our clients and ourselves.
One of our favorite books as a company is Daring Greatly by Brené Brown because she sums up what it means to face the world with courage! Check it out here.
Trying New Things
On a related note, having courage means we constantly try new things. This doesn’t only happen when there is some sort of problem or challenge to overcome, either. I would even argue that red thread women actively seek out challenges. Often what this looks like is someone on the team choosing to learn something new: our account manager researching social media platforms and becoming an expert in them all, our digital specialist digging into SEO trends, our graphic designer taking a course on accessibility, our web developer going back to school while working in order to learn even more coding languages. And because we highly value courage at Red Thread, whenever someone volunteers for a new challenge, we all strongly encourage them to take it on.
We don’t just encourage each other to take on new challenges. We offer support. Not only do we say to our colleague, “I know you can do this,” but we add, “…and I’ll help you.” And so we do. If our teammates have the courage to venture and persevere, we know that is highly valuable for us as a company, and so we find ways to help. This can mean sharing our own knowledge or experience, helping with workload, or even just listening to your teammate talk excitedly about all of the amazing new things they are learning. And as it turns out, having the support of your team gives you even more courage…so it’s a win-win!
A Fire in the Belly
That’s right…there’s no Webster’s dictionary definition for “a fire in the belly.” So what does it mean? I remember discussing this value several years ago at a red thread company retreat when we were just beginning to define our company values and put them into words. We decided that this particular value was incredibly important to us, and we thought there was no better way to describe it than “a fire in the belly,” because our employees are quite metaphorically on fire with the work that they do. It’s that feeling of urgency deep down in your gut that drives you through the day; that deep sense of purpose in your work.
What does “a fire in the belly” look like internally?
Red Thread women are all giant nerds, I’m here to tell you. We get super excited about things like data, research, statistics, and spreadsheets. We are constantly sharing articles and recommending podcasts. We love to talk about what we have learned or discovered, and we often have long group conversations about various marketing trends. Don’t believe me? Check out our latest video workshop on PPC trends here.
Because we all have that “fire in the belly,” our regularly scheduled team meetings often turn into fantastic brainstorming sessions. Someone will say something that sparks an idea in someone else, and off we go! If the idea is related to the topic at hand, this is a great way to problem-solve. If not, one of the account managers will keep the meeting on track by making note of the idea as a separate project for us to come back to later. Either way, these lightbulb moments are frequent with our team and exciting to witness.
Having “a fire in the belly” means volunteering for tasks. When something needs to be done at red thread, you won’t hear moans and groans or see anyone avoiding the work. Instead, you’ll hear “I can do that!” “Want me to help you with that?” or “Actually I’ve already started working on that!” Not only do we love the work we do, we believe in it, which makes us more than willing to volunteer to meet, organize, write, research, plan, solve, create, design, develop, or do anything else that is needed to get the job done.
Joie de Vivre
Oh yes, Webster’s has a definition for this one. Joie de vivre is a “keen or buoyant enjoyment of life.” This is an incredibly important value at Red Thread Brands. Work-life balance really matters to us, and as a purpose-led company, we know that our work is important…but so are all the other parts of life. In fact, spending time doing things you enjoy outside of work has been proven to actually improve your performance at work…but that’s a topic for another blog (coming soon!)
What does the “joie de vivre” look like internally?
At Red Thread Brands, we genuinely enjoy each other’s company. This is evident in the delightful back-and-forth banter between all of us on Slack on a daily basis, or in the first five minutes of any internal Zoom meeting, before we get down to business. In addition to our work, we have all made the effort to discover other common interests, and we frequently bond over things like funny animal videos or fancy tassel earrings. Team building of this nature is incredibly important, especially with all of us working remotely in 5 different states.
Red thread ladies got JOKES. Trust me on this one. This team is funny. I laugh at work on a regular basis, and it is often what keeps me going through the day, especially when we have a lot going on…which is most of the time! All of us understand the importance of laughter and having fun, both for productivity and general quality of life. So we inject a little humor into the mix whenever we can.
A Celebratory Spirit
The joie de vivre is a celebration of life, and we definitely celebrate life at Red Thread. We cheer each other on, both inside and outside of work. We celebrate each other’s birthdays, weddings, children, pets, homes, performances, adventures, wins, you name it. This can mean anything from calling “emergency” meetings to announce someone’s recent engagement (followed by a wild round of Zoom applause) to sending flowers to the theater for opening night. Whatever the occasion, red threads celebrate each other.
The Value of Values
As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, company values matter. And it is important to not only know them but live them. Living your company values in your job can make such a difference – it does for us! Our company values serve our internal work relationships in a very positive way, as we strive to live them all: dialogue, solutions, honesty, courage, a fire in the belly, and the joie de vivre.
Stay tuned for part two of this series, in which I will talk about how these same values serve our relationships with our clients.
Does it sound like our company values align with yours? This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship!