How culture produces great work and attracts a‑players

By: Chris Goward
10 min. read Last updated: August 27th, 2020

Why does my 2-year-old iPhone battery die in 3 hours? Why are household appliances built with such poor quality these days?

Remember your parents’ washing machine? It lasted for decades. Today, they barely last 5 years. And don’t even think about repairing them. It’s cheaper to replace the whole thing.

In some industries, quality seems to have gone out of style.

That’s a problem I hear marketers complain about in their digital agencies too. How many times have you been disappointed? You should expect high-quality service from your partners and agencies, but it’s not the norm.

Fortunately, delivering a quality service still makes a positive difference to clients.

WiderFunnel turned ten years old last year and it’s made me think about what makes us different. I think one of the biggest differences is quality, in addition to the insights gained from thousands of tests, the unique System that consistently delivers great results, and our awesome CEO. (Just kidding about that last bit!)

I’m always so proud when I hear about our team over-delivering on expectations. That’s why our clients say things like this, from the President of a consumer marketing company:

WiderFunnel was extremely well organized, articulate and mindful of our team’s resources. They executed perfectly, never missed a deadline and had impeccable follow-up. We’re looking forward to launching the next test!

And, from this Manager at Intel:

It’s a pleasure working with all of you and we are thrilled with the results!

I usually talk about marketing optimization strategies on this blog, and will again in the next post. Today, though, I’d like to share some insights about the company doing all this great work to give you a better perspective on our approach and maybe inspire some thoughts about your own company and career.

Today, the question is: what makes WiderFunnel tick?

The key to everything: the team

I’ll tell you the one thing I’ve learned above everything else: success for us is *all* about our team. That may not be a revelation to you, but it’s been amazing to me to see first-hand how the right team multiplies our effectiveness.

That’s why creating and maintaining a happy team of a-players is now my top priority as CEO.

Now, I can hear the critics getting ready to add their comments.

  • “How can our team be more important than our clients?”
  • “Aren’t clients always the number one priority?”
  • “What about profit? Are you running a charity, Chris?”

Well, here’s the thing: delivering success for our clients is why we’re in business. And, we’re in business to pay our bills and a little more besides.

But, as CEO, I can’t serve all our clients on my own. The way I can serve them best is to make sure our team is coached, engaged and fired up to serve our clients. The time and investment I put into our team is my highest leverage activity.

Our co-created purpose pulls us together

A few months ago, I decided the original vision, mission and values I had written for the company were no longer best. I don’t want a top-down dictation of who we are. I thought if we could encapsulate the culture we have now, we’ll always be a great place to work.

So, our core team went up a mountain (literally!) to co-create our foundational beliefs. I was so proud of the honest, challenging conversations we had to find the words that truly drive us.

WiderFunnel values creation experience
An inspiring experience helped create our values

It also always helps to have a little fun along the way…

Ice skating team fun
Work hard play hard

Here’s what we agreed to as our values, which I’m still super excited about. It really reflects who we are.

Our values:

marketing team - WiderFunnel values
Our values are at the core of every decision we make.

Our vision:

We are the trusted ally for fearless business leaders.

Our mission:

We unlock the hidden growth potential of the world’s great brands.

We’ve created some pretty cool weekly and daily habits to keep these alive too. These aren’t just wall-hanging decorations. I overhear the team referring to them in conversations daily. It’s awesome.

Special events help build team cohesion

I’ve realized now that some of WiderFunnel’s most productive times have been outside of the office.

We recently upped the ante again with our first annual summit to end our fiscal year. This time, I took the team on a four-day adventure in Las Vegas!

Vegas sign
What goes in Vegas…

Now, I’ll tell you that I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect from it. It seemed like a good idea theoretically, but when it came the day to leave, I was nervous. I’d never been on a trip like this with co-workers.

But it was awesome. We had a great time with plenty of fun, inspiration, and productive planning sessions.

I know you’ll all want to know what happened, so here are some photos. At least, those that were allowed out of Vegas 😉

WiderFunnel Vegas
A few of the team members boarding the flight
WiderFunnel poolside
Inspirational experiences build team cohesion
WiderFunnel casino winning
Chris Goward Vegas winnings
I even came out ahead in winnings

I hope we never get too big to do fun things like this. And, if you’re in a position to consider something like this at your company, you should. If you wonder how it could work for you, feel free to add your comments and questions below.

What our team says about culture

And, don’t just take my word for it. Here’s what a few of our team members said about the culture we’re building. When asked,

How do WiderFunnel’s values influence your life at work?

They reaffirm that I work for a company I trust. And so I am motivated and grateful to devote all my energy into my work here.

– Victoria “Vicky”

The assembled team here at WiderFunnel doesn’t just play lip-service to company values; it’s in every action we take, every strategy session, every document and every meeting. The values help shape our actions and in turn our actions are what cause such great results.
Everyone in this office is motivated to lift WiderFunnel to new heights, the company values are what helps us work in unison.

– Mike “Newfie”

I feel more motivated thinking about them because when I consciously apply them, I feel good about myself (even in personal settings).

– Claire “Clairette”

How do you feel the Vegas Summit experience has contributed to our team happiness and success?

It gave the opportunity for us to get to know people we don’t normally work with – and what great people they are!

– Monica

I think an experience like the Vegas Summit does help attract and retain A-players. I feel like sharing that kind of experience, where we’re practically living with each other, would keep away those individuals who don’t share the same values, or feel the same way about WiderFunnel.

– Megan

How would you describe the working culture at WiderFunnel now?

Dynamic and beautiful. It’s a constant evolution and one that I feel blessed to be a part of moving forward.

– Mike “Newfie”

Hard working. Fast paced, flexible decision making (opposed to corporations with large hierarchy nets), collaborative/supportive and fun.

– Jacqueline

What does this mean for our clients?

Most importantly, a happy, smart, engaged team wants to deliver great work for clients. Each one of us takes our work personally and aims to over-deliver. When we accept a new client, we will only do so if we believe we can get great results for them, and we’re committed to working at it until we do.

So, now it’s your turn.

What does culture mean to you? How does your company create, maintain and enhance culture? Add your comments below.

Also, if you know someone you think would be a great fit for our time, please send them our way. We’re hiring!

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