Lately, I’ve been having thoughts that you might relate with if you’re in charge of managing a business:
- What is it that makes us truly valuable?
- What are the things I’d like this company to keep having, even when I’m no longer the one leading it?
- What are the things that have driven our survival, growth, or mild success (whatever you want to call it) in the last years?
It is not that we’re the only people that offer the services that we do and definitely, it is not our marketing strategy. And I laugh and cry inside when writing those words. I am so bad at marketing, and I have been reluctant to hire marketing people for Alternova. I am good at telling the truth, though. I am good at being transparent with clients. I am good at recognizing when I am wrong or I don’t know something. I’ve also been consistently good at pushing when I think I’m totally right.
I have had so many experiences with people that just tell their clients what they want to hear. And the customer might “always be right” in some particular contexts but not when they are hiring your expertise. So I believe all client relationships are a new page on a never-ending learning book. And the key to a successful relationship is transparency. Knowing how to say things, even if they are uncomfortable, and knowing how to hear them, even if they’re still uncomfortable.
The second value I want to write about has to do with why we do what we do. “Passion” might be the usual answer to this question. If you do what you love, that is great. But if you work in something you love and, additionally, it makes you infinitely curious, then you’re in the best spot you can be. I am convinced that curiosity driven work is valuable work. Both for the client and for the human executing the job. The reason is, curiosity driven companies never stop getting better at their craft. And curiosity driven employees, with curiosity feeding jobs, never stop having fun at work.
It has at least worked for us. We recently had someone leave the company. We hadn’t had someone resign since mid 2018, so it was a shock to me. And it lasted for a few hours until I realized this was the perfect opportunity to shake part of the team and give some people that had been having the same job for a long time, a curiosity boost. A renewed challenge. Nothing like giving a nerd (like me) a new challenge in the subject we feel passion for.
I was going to add a Steve Jobs quote here, but I think you get it: Transparency and Curiosity. Those are the two values I believe have been the fuel that powers the engine of Alternova. What’s yours? What has worked for you?
And, going back to marketing: Here’s our new open source framework for advertising: We’re going to share our deepest thoughts on business, and the industries we’re in. Feel free to tell us what you think and if you think these things make sense, shoot us an email, we might make something fun together.
Ricardo Velasquez, CEO Alternova