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Changing the Way We Think About Values One Napkin at a Time

May 12, 2021 | Tim Haines

You know what every business owner I’ve ever spoken to wants?


They want to grow personally.

They want to grow their business.

They want to grow their mission.

They want to grow their team.

When I close my eyes, I always imagine new businesses as a little sapling growing in the forest. Many want to grow that sapling into a full-fledged tree, but to do so requires sunshine, water, carbon dioxide, and some deep motherforcking roots.

So, what does growth mean? The shortcut to the answer is: values.

Your values drive your definition of growth. If you don’t know what your values are as an organization — if you can’t at least scribble them out on a napkin — then your growth will be more painful than it needs to be, if it exists at all.

Writing things down on paper doesn’t solve everything, but it is a damn good place to start. With that in mind, we worked hard internally to create an identity document. It’s much prettier than our scribbled napkins. (Here’s a link if you want to steal it).

Our values are shaping the way we think about our future. Here are the culture-shaping questions we are asking ourselves right now:

  1. How many members does the ideal marketing team have?
  2. How do we get more diversity on our team?
  3. What healthy communication rules do we follow internally?
  4. How does a remote team maintain a strong culture?
  5. How can we harness the power of tools such as the enneagram to go beyond personality profiles and to build deeper relationships between our team members?
  6. How can we better help our clients make sure that their marketing and sales goals are aligned with their organizational goals?
  7. How does the shift to work from home impact the way that brands need to communicate with customers, clients, and employees? What’s digital media’s role within that?
  8. As data privacy concerns grow, what will the future of marketing look like?
  9. How can we be braver with our creative and with our voice?
  10. How do we turn Symposia Labs into an institution?

At Symposia, we believe that the best growth happens slowly. When we grow slowly, we grow more smoothly, and when we grow smoothly, we might find ourselves moving faster than we expected.

You might be thinking, “Gee, Tim, this all sounds great! Sign me up!”

But here is the catch: when we grow slowly, and grow in accordance with our values, sometimes we have to sacrifice short-term comfort.

You might now be thinking, “Dammit Tim, I hate sacrifices”, but just wait, let me explain why they are important.

Short-term profits are valuable at times, but values can not be sacrificed with the intention of gaining short-term profits and short-term comfort. Mistakes that are made in the area of values are not merely an injustice, they also hurt your organization in the long-term.

Sacrifices lead to growth.

If you want to talk about how to grow slowly, let’s chat over Google Hangouts. We’ll bring the napkins.