Blog: The Wheat Sheaf
Kim McConnell: A Response to Level Five Leadership Blog
It’s been a few years since I stepped down as CEO but the path we took to establish and grow our agency to become a respected North American marketing communications firm continues.
We call our leadership and management pathway The Journey Map – a journey that starts with our Corporate Purpose, the reason our agency exists and why people would want to join us as employees, clients or suppliers. At AdFarm our purpose is “to be a catalyst for the advancement of agriculture.”
Our Journey Map involves adhering to our corporate values; values that are meaningful to our people and define how we operate. Our hiring process begins by seeking people that align with the AdFarm values, and our client attraction process involves people that see value in our people, our ideas and how we operated. We believe it is important to live our values and this helps create the AdFarm culture.
Our Journey Map involves a long-range 25-year Goal, Big Hairy Audacious Goal’ or our BHAG. This Goal is somewhat aspirational. It helps define what success looks like at AdFarm, and it clarifies where we are going. It also helps ensure our annual business plans connect and strive to propel us forward. Our Journey Map also involves a couple of ‘Ditches’ that bring clarity to our business plan – one ditch that outlines the resources we are allocating to achieve our business objections, and one ditch that has AdFarmers outline their expectations of themselves, their teammates and the agency. The ‘ditches’ assist and support our path forward and provide good measurements on how we are performing.
And the Journey Map relies on leadership that encourages participation of all AdFarmers and keeps AdFarmers informed on challenges that lie ahead and successes along the way.
This approach to business has proved beneficial to AdFarm including our people, our shareholders and our clients.
Are things different today than when we started the AdFarm journey in the mid-1980s? Much remains the same. I believe people, more so today than ever, want to be part of an organization that has a meaningful purpose and reason for being in business. They appreciate an organization that has values, and lives those values. They like an organization that has a long-range goal and a realistic path to achieve it. They want leadership that encourages them, supports them and is committed to staying the course along the path forward. And, they want to be part of a team and rewarded appropriately when the team is successful.
I also believe that authenticity, transparency and integrity are more important than ever. So is creating a culture where people are encouraged to offer their ideas and thoughts. And something else seems to be more important than ever - creating a culture where ‘fun’ is truly appreciated. When these happen, we are able to attract great people and great clients, and endure a rapidly changing world of business.
The journey continues…