Culture. We’ve all heard the term and know that every organization has it. Some have entire teams dedicated to a culture strategy, while others define culture based on the “feeling that you get” in your day-to-day work. Regardless of how formal or informal the culture strategy is at your organization, culture has never been more important. While we remain physically distanced, we all have a need to be socially connected to our teams and to a shared purpose. Our culture is our constant and continues to guide our interactions, our decision making, and our course of business.
As I’ve looked at our own organization, I’ve witnessed moments both large and small that make me incredibly proud of our team and the culture that we’ve created. While we can no longer catch up around the much-overworked office coffee machine or linger in the hallways after meetings to talk about upcoming weekend plans, we’ve ramped up other ways to stay connected and stay true to our culture. At CMG, our culture is rooted in two fundamental areas – our people and growing together – collectively, we focus on these two areas to guide us. Here’s how we’re doing it.
Our people are the heart of our business and taking care of our team has always been a guiding principle of our firm. Now more than ever, it is critical to continue to care for our people and ensure we navigate this journey together. While we can’t predict the future and certainly do not have all the answers, we do know that we want to continue to provide candid and transparent communication, allowing our people to be heard, and providing a level of continuity in a rapidly changing environment. We do this through firm-wide meetings, 1:1s, and a culture that has always encouraged open and honest communication.
We’ve also ensured that we’ve kept the “face-to-face” moments in our daily routines. Team lunches, quick coffee breaks, impromptu brainstorming sessions – it all still happens, just over Zoom. We’ve seen our team engaging in virtual happy hours, quiz nights, learning sessions, and check-ins leveraging the power of technology. In some ways, we might have even connected more in a virtual environment. It’s because of this environment that we’ve met each other’s roommates, kids, and a number of furry friends. Our virtual world invites us to ask about that book we see sitting on a colleague’s home desk or the picture in the background, often spurring a more personal conversation and creating an opportunity to learn about the individual and their interests outside of work. I have to believe that understanding each other on a more personal level, helps us to connect in more productive ways in all of our interactions.
As we collectively traverse our ever-changing environment, we’re being bent, stretched, and twisted – and have undoubtedly grown as a result of it. We’re honing our ability to be nimble, unable to rely on what worked previously or tried and true methods. There is no predetermined roadmap for success. We’re trying new ways of working and new approaches to unique client challenges. We’re bringing the full power of the firm in an all hands-on-deck approach to support each other and our clients. Previously defined channels and works areas have become irrelevant in a world where our responses require the intellectual power of our whole team to create relevant and dynamic approaches in a dynamic world. By challenging ourselves and our teams to embrace these new opportunities, we will continue to grow individually and as a unit, becoming stronger partners to ourselves and our clients.
While this is a time that we will remember forever, it will not last forever. What will last are the moments where we supported each other and the times that we reflected internally, to present the best we have to offer externally. It will be moments of shared vulnerabilities and shared success. Our culture, the core of who we are, will guide these moments and in the end, continue to reflect us – a firm that cares about our people and growing together.