At Ovative/group, we are entering our Ovative 4.0 phase. We’re continuing to evolve, with an ongoing quest to grow and stretch ourselves to be better.
One differentiator of O/g 4.0 versus previous O/g iterations is our desire to be “strategically loud” about the leading edge work we’re doing in Measurement and Activation. This is a big change from our normal, under-the-radar, keep-our-heads-down-and-do-good-work approach that has gotten us this far.
Over the years, I’ve encountered many companies and individuals who would rather talk about their vision and goals than put in the hard effort required to actually be able do the work. I like when actions and results speak for themselves, and try to hold myself and team to that mantra.
However, at this point in our journey, we’re at a stage where our clients, potential customers, and team would benefit from more clarity regarding what we’re up to.
What We Mean When We Say “Strategically Loud”
To be “loud” means engaging in public presentations, publishing thought-provoking white papers, increasing our involvement in the community, and writing informative blogs on industry topics where our point of view adds value.
We’re asking our entire team to engage. In that spirit I’m entering the content fray, with what I hope to be an ongoing series of posts on team, culture, and leadership.
My team is smiling now because they know my 2-fingered typing skills have caused writing this blog to take an inordinate amount of time, however, I believe this will be worth the effort.
The Heart and Head
I’m increasingly motivated by Ovative/group’s mission, “Fearlessly Unlocking Potential.” I know you’re probably thinking, “mission statement? seriously?!” I was skeptical too, however, let me share our story.
I started Ovative/group after a long career at Target, with a very clear view on what I thought would be a strong cultural foundation to found a great company. This view was informed by the great, the good and the ugly of Target culture, but also a high level of respect and awareness of the power a strong culture has on the success or failure of an enterprise.
Based on my narrow experience, I initially thought O/g was taking a somewhat unique approach. But as I engage and interact with more small and growing companies, I’ve come across many amazing organizations that are building their own strong cultures and businesses on some of the same fundamentals we embrace. There is a very real renaissance going on in America centered in strong, small companies that actually care about their team members.
Of course, all good ideas and beliefs take so much more than the idea or words to bring them consistently to life in a company. Leaders have to actually lead. A culture, has to be authentic, come from the heart and head, and be acted on consistently every day, by everybody.
To keep your culture strong and vibrant is difficult. And, like a great business idea, an approach to culture is a lot about timing. Leaders have to sense when an approach will resonate with the talent they want to attract and retain and when change is necessary.
Building a Culture Based on “Fearlessly Unlocking Potential”
Our mission statement, “Fearlessly Unlocking Potential” is emblazoned next to the front door of our office. It serves as a daily reminder of our commitment to ourselves, our families, our teammates, our clients, and our communities.
We chose each word very carefully and, in typical O/g style, with significant, vibrant discussion. Together these words apply across life’s spectrum of relationships and separately they stand as reminders of an approach that pulses and pushes us forward.
I initially struggled with the word “Fearlessly,” as did many on my team. At first, it sounded reckless. However, as I lived with it, I embraced the powerful message it sent my team and the liberating effect it had on my view of O/g and our approach to client relationships.
At Ovative, we need to be Fearless every day; tackling neglected and ugly data issues, testing new channels, honestly assessing and discussing data gaps and organizational realities with clients, and tackling the challenges of building and acting on new cross -channel and attributed-marketing metrics to achieve the potential of the opportunity.
The confident, forward-action orientation of “fearlessly” thrives today at O/g and brings me joy as I see the “fearless” light pop on for someone who has experienced a more controlled culture. We’ve bred a culture of trust where it’s understood that acting fearlessly is synonymous with feeling stretched, and being a bit uncomfortable is not only ok, but expected.
“Fearlessly” also shows up in our work with our clients. We are a Measurement and Activation firm creating new capabilities to measure and act on digital’s impact on enterprise results. Most of what we do hasn’t been done at an operational scale before. We’re essentially data explorers, moving into uncharted territory. Our goal is to unlock the potential of our client’s customer data to enable them to transform their business’s approach to engagement with their customers.
Unlocking, requires different approaches with each individual, which means you actually have to know your team, and be a bit vulnerable and let yourself be known. This demands an openness and a desire by the team member to be unlocked. It’s important to suss out this drive for personal growth in the interview process as it’s very hard to elevate the uninterested.
And finally potential. Potential within each individual is such an exciting but loaded concept. Each person, team, and organization sits on their own level of potential. As the leader, I feel my most important role is to create an environment where each individual and each team’s potential can be stretched. It’s up to the team member, team, and organization to unlock it.
With age and experience on my side, I strongly believe O/g’s mission, “Fearlessly Unlocking Potential,” will motivate me the rest of my life. Its application is powerful, seen through a child’s eyes, a team member’s goals, or a client’s desire to build a competitive advantage. It’s a lens that energizes, magnifies, and demands I give my best to all.