Hailey Anderson shares her insights from the Inc. 5000 Conference
Last week, Gravity Works attended the Inc. 5000 Conference in San Antonio, TX and while the a-list speakers, including the larger-than-life Tony Robbins, touched on many topics, the buzz term that I couldn’t escape was company culture.
Take Eric Ryan, co-founder of Method, who shared this bit of wisdom during his keynote session, “Good company culture leads to great products. And if you have great products, that should be all the marketing you need.”
Sure, culture is powerful; I witnessed its influence at the Inc. 5000 afterparty on a cattle ranch, where nearly every attendant wore cowboy boots, simply because that’s what you do in Texas. It should also be fairly obvious that culture plays an important role in boosting company morale and building a productive team. I’d argue most businesses make strides to mold a positive work culture, but intention and implementation are two different beasts. “Company values aren’t enough; you need to live the values,” said Ryan. “Get it into the bloodstream of the culture.”
At Gravity Works, our values and raw personality are clearly reflected in our culture. It’s not a facade that we put on for public show; what you see is what you get. And I believe that level of authenticity attracts clients. Perhaps we have our quirks to thank for much of our business success; at least that’s the piece of advice our speakers repeated time and again.
So what’s our special sauce? What’s our effective approach to company culture? It’s made up of a lot of little things, some of which happen organically and others that are intentionally enforced. It’s in the way we brighten up our office with vibrant walls, comfortable lounge areas, and gamer geek knick-knacks. We’ve adopted an open work space instead of solitary cubicles, which encourages collaboration and creativity. If we need alone time to gather our thoughts or improve focus, we retreat to one of our charming breakout rooms, which we’ve furnished with Star Wars and Nintendo memorabilia.
On Fridays we grab team lunch to celebrate the close of another productive work week and discuss current challenges and accomplishments. Every week we gather for “stand-up,” a 15 minute team meeting in which we share relevant news, project statuses, weekly goals, and blocking issues.
Yes, we’ve stolen a few cliche tricks like office nerf gun fights and annual staff retreats (we drew the line at foosball tables). But we like to be creative with our distractions, such as spontaneous work breaks to catch nearby Pokémon (coordinated through our Pokémon-specific Slack channel), or playing a board game at the end of the day.
These small actions, which might seem silly or counterproductive, have effective and powerful outcomes. When high priority is placed on creating a positive work environment for employees, clients receive higher quality work. We believe that doing good work, providing quality service, and creating a positive workplace are more valuable than making a profit; profit is just the byproduct that allows us to keep doing what we love.
You can join us on Saturday, November 5th for Extra Life, a 24-hour gaming marathon to raise money for Sparrow Children's Center.
We’re thrilled that this business approach has helped us become one of the fastest growing private companies in the country. The Inc. 5000 Conference gave us an opportunity to celebrate this achievement and learn from other business leaders. And if company culture is really the secret to success, then I think we’re in a good place.