Core values speech

The Official RedShift Strategists Core Values Speech

Recently, RedShift Strategists held our annual production meeting, where we delivered our speech on our company’s core values.

As messaging strategists, we have consistently supported other companies in defining and describing their own core values. After pinpointing their values, we similarly encourage our clients to develop a core values speech of their own so they can get everyone on their team on the same page.

As an example to our clients and to companies everywhere, we have released the full transcript of our core values speech.

Hello everyone. I want to take a moment to talk about our team, but I’d like to start by rewinding a bit further back, to the beginning of our company. When I was originally choosing the name of our company, I found myself gravitating toward concepts that had immense meaning in the universe. Two lists formed: one list with names of gods and goddesses, and one that listed intergalactic terms. I soon decided to go with the second list, striking our chances of ever becoming Zeus Writers, or Hermes’ Lightning Fast Scribes company. After first narrowing options to those on the intergalactic list, I found myself gravitating toward the name, and concept, of RedShift. It was partly for writing purposes: RedShift alliterates with “writers”, and it’s easy to type. If you look at your keyboard, you’ll notice that the letters are pretty close together. There was a certain memorability to it that was fitting for the era when we were formed: thanks to new technologies, marketers were taking a more scientific approach to their work, and RedShift is a scientific concept. What really intrigued me, though, was the concept itself. Have you ever noticed that when a fire truck passes you, the sound changes to be lower in pitch? The same thing happens with light. Light appears to become more red as it moves away from us. The Redshift effect of light observed from distant stars and galaxies demonstrates that the universe is expanding. And over time, scientists figured that if the universe is expanding, there must have been a moment when it all started about 13.8 billion years ago, AKA “The Big Bang.” As you all know, our company’s big bang happened about 10 years ago. Since that moment, much like the universe, we’ve expanded too. We’ve worked with dozens of writers and more than a hundred clients, turning a two thousand dollar investment into hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual revenue year over year, not to mention regular work for a staff of 5-7 writers, and foundational messaging for companies across a wide variety of industries. Much like the creation of the universe, the beginning of RedShift Strategists was chaotic but highly energetic, birthing something unique. Our writers have always been unique, but those who have stayed together as a team for years have all rallied around common values, around which our universe took on structure and order in the form of core values: the values of being mindful, constructive, creative, and strategic. At RedShift, we are mindful of the present: our feelings, the feelings of those we work with, and how we operate. Sometimes it shows up in small ways: we take the time to give each other credit through Monday kudos, or a high five on a Google Meeting. While it’s common in our industry to work long hours and push through situations, we think about the present and say, “Hey, we’ve been at this for a while. Let’s take 5 so we can refresh ourselves, relax, and come back with new vigor.” Our mindfulness shows up in larger ways as well. Everyone on our team has provided insights into how to navigate a client situation in ways that have led to better results. And we don’t stray from dialogue about the world at large. We directly discuss ideas that challenge us and do everything we can to push each other to make an impact both in our roles and in our lives outside of work. We are selective about who we work with. We discuss how to help the world and challenge ourselves to be better during our ethics checks, and every song we’ve analyzed, from Tracy Chapman to Gil Scott Heron to Toomaj Salehi, reveals how to better understand the struggles and challenges of other people. We can never know what it’s like to be someone else, but we do our best to consider their perspective, and we come by it honestly. We’re mindful of each other. We give each other insights, ideas big and small, and credit for doing well in our roles. When we need to take a step back, we do. We’re mindful of our place in the room, contributing as needed, and leaving space for others to contribute in kind. We’re even mindful of people outside the room. We take the time to realize that everyone has a life as complex as our own, with challenges and triumphs, love and difficulties, and personal perceptions and considerations that are every bit as valid as ours. Our feedback is mindful; we all think differently, and are motivated differently, so we tailor our communication to our clients, our partners, and to one another so that we are upholding our second core value by being constructive. RedShift Strategists’ creative sessions between writers, directors, and editors always incorporate positive creative tension. We even have a whole conceptual explanation for it that accompanies our creative tension exercises, an explanation that goes like this:
“When we write collaboratively, or when a Director and Writer work together to finalize direction, we seek to find a balance in our creative tension. Too much tension, and the pair will pushback at one another and won’t be able to develop a piece. Not enough tension and the piece will fall flat, as both collaborators will allow every part of the draft to stay standing, even areas that could and should have been improved before reaching the editing phase of the project.
The purpose of this creative tension is to be constructive, to always consider one another’s ideas and edits before pushing back, and trying to find ways to say yes or include elements of an idea that were positive and fitting for the piece. We notice when something can be improved, but also consider the outcomes of our actions and words, and how we might make a change.Years ago, we picked up a saying from one of our clients:
“Blame destroys accountability.”
Blame makes folks defensive, and it’s just plain ugly as a way to solve problems. Instead of blame, we hold ourselves and one another accountable by getting to the bottom of challenges, identifying causes, and coming up with solutions through honest feedback and the knowledge that our fellow writers are there to support us in our goals. As a result, we are grateful for one another’s feedback, making hard conversations and transitions just a little bit easier. We value one another, listen to each other, and learn lessons from one another. We maintain regular touchpoints and intentional conversations. If we need to make a change, we talk about it. Every Wednesday, we meet to surface and address ongoing challenges in the company related to both accounts and other day-to-day activities. We take a constructive approach to conferences and processes. RedShift Strategists is more organized than it ever has been, and our team’s individual growth is the main reason why. We solve issues quickly with templates and checklists, as well as a strong meeting pulse. We see constructive improvement as an ongoing effort, and our systems, information governance, and workflow undergo continuous yet measured changes as we construct a company that grows more and more dynamic by the day. Seeing opportunities to construct a better company means seeing things differently and materializing ideas that others may not think of. Fortunately, our team lives up to our third core value: we are nothing if not creative. We are makers, artists, crafters, dreamers, musicians, and last but not least, writers! We like to create, and have a deep appreciation for the meaning behind the things that other people create. We could have been bankers or insurance agents, but we chose to make the timeless craft of writing a key part of our lives. We’re curious, unafraid to experiment. We like to try new things! We value different perspectives and experiences. There is always more to learn from the world; we know that we don’t know everything, and find beauty in discovering whatever we can. Whether it’s the particular rhythm, diction, connotation, or reference of a specific passage, sentence, or even a single word, or something entirely different from writing, such as a movie scene or a musical riff, we are fascinated with the artful nuances that are responsible for so much of the beauty around us. We share those details with one another regularly, in passing and as part of projects. And we play games! Every Monday, we spend one of the first parts of our week creating together. We ideate and build fantasy worlds for brands and projects: a frog band, a Dog boot company, and the fictional town of RedVille Shiftland. We grow our understanding of theories, models, strategies, and tactics while expanding our own mentalities and those that are external to our company. We work together to create solutions across all aspects of what we do: in our client work, our internal work, across all departmental functions, and how we make a positive impact. Our creativity opens up opportunities because we can see more solutions to the challenges before us, and the challenges faced by the entire world. We live our fourth core value by using our creativity strategically. We’re dynamic and are always considerate of dynamics: the intricacies and ongoing changes of our team, the industry we are working with, the situation, and our history. When we run into a writing challenge, we think of the audience in all of its nuance and find ways to structure our writing to fulfill their wishes and achieve the business objectives of our partners and clients. We outline every project with a RACI to ensure accountability, and track time, deadlines, steps, communication preferences, and a host of other details and considerations that keep us oriented toward our goal and informed of complexities. We’re willing to follow a path, but we’re not afraid to pave our own path, too. If a strategy or tactic isn’t working, we try something else. All of us keep our eyes naturally open to spot tools, tips, insights, and snippets of information that might be helpful for us in our work. We know that nothing is static, so we consider different approaches and strive to implement what is maximal. When we discuss challenges, we discuss not just the surface level issues, but also how best to approach the discussion itself, tailoring our approach to the scenario at hand. We think forward and reason backwards by considering the end goal and figuring out the best way for things to play out. All of our strategy is backed by a principle of connections, the idea that there are relationships between almost everything in the universe. We are mindful of cause and effect, and how multiple causes can lead to single effects or ripple into much larger consequences. RedShift may be a space-related term, but nothing we do is completed in a vacuum.

We think about how our actions affect the whole:

How will this impact the client?

The client’s end customers?

Partners on the project?

We ask:

How will this make the other person in the conversation feel?

What is the best way to communicate this idea?

What will be their response? Are we achieving what we set out to do in this situation?

We think of the relationship between the company’s business plan, the marketing tasks we have been asked to execute, and different team business functions. We think of the need: of the reader, the clients, and ourselves.

These values are not the only values we exemplify, individually, or as a team. And much of what we do exemplifies more than one of these values, as each tends to reinforce and bolster the others. But what is for certain is that the RedShift Strategists’ team is universally mindful, constructive, creative, and strategic, and by living our core values, we can continue to reach for the stars and expand our universe in ways that are positive for every person we encounter, and every endeavor we embark upon.

Each and every one of us lives and works by these core values. We are mindful. We are constructive. We are creative. We are strategic. We are RedShift Strategists, and I am grateful to work with you as we embrace the next chapter of our adventure, together.

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