A Proactive Approach to Activating Positive Change

Companies too often find themselves in a reactive position when they reach a point where organizational change is inevitable. It’s a common challenge all businesses face regardless of industry, but especially for small to mid-sized independent companies. We get it. Everyone has a job to do, and we can sometimes be too laser-focused on our daily tasks. When your main duty is building profitability, it can be a challenge to think of anything beyond the responsibilities associated with that singular objective. But, when you go too long without taking a high-level view within your own walls and the world around you, you might find yourself in a suboptimal position to implement any sort of significant progress for your organization.

Modern businesses are now taking a proactive approach to activating positive change for their companies. GYK Antler is one such company, and I’m excited to be onboard here as our first ever Director of Talent Development. In this role, I partner with senior leaders and collaborate with teams to clarify strategy, align goals, and understand how to work through challenges together.

I was especially drawn to GYK Antler because of our commitment to supporting employees in a more complete way. In an industry where bots and artificial intelligence are being utilized as common tools, we know effective marketing will always benefit from a human element. This is one of the many reasons why we pride ourselves on being a “people-first” organization.

Being a “people-first” organization sounds nice, and even obvious, but what does it really mean?

It means we subscribe to the philosophy that if we support our people, we’re supporting our product, which will propel our business. Ultimately, we know establishing a longer view at leadership and business growth — aligning with GYKA’s Evergreen Philosophy — requires attention and care. We have a history of adapting and evolving — having thrived for more than 40 years as an advertising agency — and now, we’re gearing up for the next 40 years through a renewed commitment to our collective mission, vision and values.

So, where do you start with this sort of approach? Regardless of your industry, the following tips provide a high-level overview of simple practices you should be doing right now to drive success in your team or organization.

Clarify your mission, vision and values.

Then practice and repeat them, over and over again. These must be the lifeblood of the organization — not just posters or words up on a wall. These behaviors need to be seen daily at all levels to drive your strategy to fruition.

Focus on trust to build community.

How are you interacting with your team members at all levels to build trust? Building trust isn’t about checking off the boxes, it’s about constant learning that relies on your own ability to be open, vulnerable, make mistakes and grow from them, and always be transparent.

Practice a growth mindset.

It’s critical to look at how you think and ensure you’re opening yourself up to new ways of overcoming challenges in order to keep up with increasing business and team complexities. While it may feel easier to be fixed in acquired ways, it’s critical to recalibrate and gain awareness of how you can meet challenges and continue to learn and adapt. If you’re continuously growing, you’re more apt to succeed.

Look at your capability versus capacity.

Obviously, you need to produce results, but with more complexity and a finite amount of time and resources, you don’t always have the right capacity to do so, which can hinder growth. Ensure you’re setting yourself up with the right capabilities to tackle the challenges you face, whether through learning new skills or by ensuring you have the right processes, structure and planning time in place.

Bottom line, even if it seems like your calendar is jammed up every day, force yourself to carve out time to think through these longer view pieces of your business. By practicing these tactics each day and disseminating clear values to your team, your organization will most definitely benefit.

Marian Spurrier has over 15 years experience practicing Leadership Development and leading talent as an executive coach. She’s worked in various industries including financial services, fashion, food and creative. When she’s not supporting people and culture, she’s likely competing in a sailing regatta or backcountry skiing adventure.
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