Shaping our remote culture: Mission, Vision, Values & Essential Intent

 

Over the past six years, we have put a significant amount of effort into shaping our team culture. Always making sure we constantly adapt it to the people that are part of our team, their needs and their personalities. Throughout this evolution we have developed a shared language, a way of acting and a decision making process that everyone could follow – but we had never put it into words.

The most recent and biggest shift that our team went through was our decision to become a self-managed team, at the end of 2016. The following year was all about the transition – which came with the realisation that we would also like to define the direction in which the agency was headed and start working with more purposeful businesses and processes, increasing the impact of our work.

In March 2018, eighteen months after we had started the transition, our team attended a work camp together. It was then, during a day-long team session with Reimaginaire’s Lisa Gill, that we realised there are aspects of the business and the direction that we are going that we view differently. It became clear that the next step would be to work on defining our Mission, Vision, Values and Essential Intent – to help us clarify the things that matter to us, in a clear and simple way.

With this in mind, we began a six month process of defining our Mission, Vision, Values and Essential Intent. Being a remote team, this process was a remote one as well, so all team conversations and exercises had to be designed with the ‘remote first’ principle in mind.

 

How we defined our Mission, Vision, Values & Essential Intent: The process

Process Flowchart to define mission, vision and values
Step 1. The Questionnaire

Although we’d had conversations in the past about what drives us as a team and what we aim to achieve, we figured the best way to start was with a simple questionnaire. The purpose was to understand how each member of the team envisions the future of the agency.

The guidelines that we set up for the questionnaire were:

Questionaire Screenshot
The set of 8 questions we asked were:

  • What motivates you to keep working with 90 Digital?
  • What achievements has 90 Digital accomplished that you are proud of? (* Please state 2- 3 achievements of 90 as a company – think specific projects, awards, impact on a certain industry, number of clients, the evolution of the team, revenue etc. What did we achieve that makes you happy just by thinking about it?)
  • What is one principle that we, as a company, follow when we choose our projects & clients and that you resonate very much with?
  • Describe 3 of the 90 Digital clients that you love working with and explain why. (*Please provide real-life examples of companies as much as possible – or, if you don’t have a specific name, describe the company the best you can (size, industry, product etc)
  • What is one important problem that we help these clients solve?
  • Why do you believe this problem matters and it needs to be addressed?
  • Does this problem matter for the world on a higher level? If yes, why?
  • What kind of world has 90 Digital helped build since 2018? Please think about 3 adjectives that help you describe this best.

 

Step 2: Defining our Mission and Vision

Following the questionnaire, we set up a call with the whole team. For this meeting, we prepared a short presentation which included the results and conclusions of each of the questions. This helped the team have an overview of everybody’s answers – and understand the patterns that appeared.

Summing up the answers of question no. 1:

Question 1 Screenshot
In the second part of the session we presented three proposals of our Mission & Vision, each proposal shaped around Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle and WHY model. We closed the session by inviting the team to take one week to review the three proposals, add their thoughts and comments, and let us know which of the three versions they feel resonates most with them.

After receiving input from the team, sharing a few more iterations in our Slack discussions and asking for more feedback, we shared the final result:

Vision and mission screenshot
Step 3: Exploring our Values

Next, we started to define our Values. For this, we sent out a second questionnaire, which consisted of two parts:

  • Part one focused on the values that each of us live by.
    • For this, each person in the team had to go through a three part exercise, which helped us understand the values each of us lives by, both as individuals and as a team. View the structure of the exercise here.
  • Part two comprised of two further questions which, along with all of the work that had been done up to this point, helped us shape our Essential Intent:

Step 2 Summary Screenshot

Step 4. Shaping our Essential Intent

In this step, we worked in parallel with both the Values and Essential Intent.

On the Values side of things, we analysed all of the answers, then grouped and aligned them. We extracted six main Values. In a separate document, we outlined each of the six Values and thoroughly explained what each of them means, including:

  • Three key practices
  • Actions to live by (at individual, team and organisation level)

We shared the document with the team, asking for their final feedback & thoughts, and worked on creating our final version. Our Values are as follows:

90 Digital Values

In the meantime, we analysed all of the answers for our Essential Intent. Taking into account our business objectives, we shaped our Essential Intent.

This has been a challenging process, especially in a virtual and remote environment. However, we loved putting it together and understanding how to make it work, especially since we did not find many examples from other remote companies that had gone through the same process. In the end, it all paid off. In the next few years, we will be focusing on using our Mission, Vision, Values and Essential Intent as a framework for decision making and for taking the agency closer to its full potential.

 

If your company has been through a similar process, we’d love to know the steps you took and the challenges you faced. Tell us about it.

Ana Marica

Ana Marica

With a background in international marketing and talent management, Ana is currently driving online social engagement and handles new talent in the team. She is passionate about the future of work, new technologies and alternative education models.

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