As I write this, I can’t help but hear Jeremy Piven’s “10 years” refrain from Gross Pointe Blank. Now the reference itself may age me, but the awe I feel in the occasion we are marking today is the same – “10 years?? How is this possible? 10 years? What the what?
Whether you are marking a decade since graduating college, since marrying your spouse or starting a company, the occasion is a significant one and with it comes excitement, reflection and celebration.
So, yes, I am excited. I’m excited to have been a part of building an Agency that continues to redefine the idea of what public relations can be and what it means to build a culture that celebrates each and every person’s contribution to that vision – and I’m excited that the industry agrees!
I’m excited that we did it! There were hard decisions and challenging times, but we weathered them as a team and came out the other side. And sometimes those decisions that were the hardest to make, were the ones that became game changers in our growth.
I’m excited that many of those crazy ideas that found their origin on a post-it note or white board have come to fruition and are part of helping us achieve this milestone – not all post-it notes made it, but even the ones that didn’t helped get us here (and provided some laughs along the way.)
So now, I reflect. What lessons were learned over the last 10 years? What advice or insight could I offer?
Setting aside the expected best practices, tips and tricks, and management principles, the two words that immediately spring to mind for me are values and people.
When we sat around a conference table and battled through the process of defining our values a few years ago, SHIFT changed as an organization – we now had criteria that helped us define what it meant to be a SHIFTer and helped guide us through decisions, whether it was about our people, clients or services. We had a roadmap in a way we never had one before – sure, the instinct had been there, but now it was tangible and the fact that those values have lived far beyond a poster on a wall, is something we all take tremendous pride in as an organization.
And this brings me to the next point – people. The most important decision you can make when building a business, is the people you do it with. I am incredibly proud of the team that we have built – with diverse backgrounds and experiences, the unifying force is the passion that each person shares and to see that played out each day as we tackle problems as a team is incredibly fulfilling. Maybe it’s because at SHIFT every employee is an owner in our success, but that commitment is felt and celebrated – and we have a lot of fun, which doesn’t hurt!
So with that comes the celebration – I hope everyone will join me in raising a toast to the incredible group of people that count themselves SHIFTers (current and past) and I eagerly look forward to welcoming those who will join us as we continue to grow over the next 10 years.