It has been just over a year since I stepped into the role of President at Stoltz Marketing Group – a whirlwind of a year that seemed to go by in the blink of an eye. It’s been an absolute joy to partner with the many talented people that work here, as well as welcome some new faces that have stretched our capabilities further than we could have imagined. It’s been an honor to step into this role and continue building on the reputation that Stoltz has earned over the last 21 years. 2018 was a year filled with highs, lows, challenges, laughs, and triumphs. Here are just a few things I’ve learned over the past year that will continue to mold our company and culture as we move into a new year.
- You can’t fake passion. We are lucky to work in an industry where we get to learn about a variety of different businesses every day – we can start our day in a meeting where we learn about the latest in acellular research and end our day discussing recent home lending trends. It’s never dull and certainly makes us skilled in cocktail party conversation. In a creative industry like marketing and advertising, it’s not hard to imagine that there are a lot of people that feel excited about what they do. That said, true, authentic, feel-it-in-your-gut passion is rare. I’m lucky to be a part of a team that is eager to market engineered wood products, stay late to perfect the communications strategy for our city’s public transit system, dive in to what sets a higher education brand apart from the rest, and occasionally work weekends to brainstorm the best way to pitch our agency to a company that we are dying to work with. True, authentic passion will always win and is darn near impossible to fake.
- Prioritizing culture is vital. It’s easy to get into a habit of not taking time away from productive work to engage in activities that support a great culture. You might ask yourself, what’s the ROI on an employee happy hour? Or how productive can we be on a four-day river trip where no one has access to email or phones? Well, while those metrics ARE hard to measure, I would argue that investing in activities that build culture are absolutely worth it. Employees want to be a part of something meaningful, and they certainly want to enjoy the people they spend so much of their time with every day. In 2018, we spent a lot of time thinking through what the Stoltz culture should look like. We now prioritize monthly “Toast & Boasts” where we celebrate the prior month’s accomplishments and congratulate others on a job well done. And when I say others, I mean everyone. Every single person on our team is celebrated.
We spent four days in August on a river in the middle of the Frank Church wilderness, or what my late dad called “Heaven on Earth”, bonding and sharing a lot of laughs. A LOT of laughs. We talked through what our company values should be, how we represent ourselves, and what it means to be a part of the Stoltz team. Culture is ever-evolving, but the more time you invest in building a healthy one, the higher return you’ll see in employee productivity, retention, and happiness.
- You can have it all. But not all at once. As a mom of two young girls, I constantly struggle to find the balance between getting everything done at work and spending enough quality time with my kids. As they say, “babies don’t keep,” and that is what’s on my mind as I race home at the end of each day to spend time with my girls, who are growing faster than I’d like. While we put a major emphasis on work-life balance at Stoltz, I still understand that for most people (kids or no kids) true balance is hard to achieve anywhere. While I don’t think I’ll ever have it completely figured out, I’m getting better at focusing on just a couple priorities at any given time. It’s almost impossible to do a lot of things really well at the same time. Pick two to three priorities in life (at this moment), and make sure your decisions about where you spend your time align with those priorities. Your priorities can shift over the course of a week, or a month, or a year, but knowing what your priorities are right now and being intentional about how you spend your time can mean the difference between doing a lot of things poorly and doing a few things really well. It’s liberating to remember that you can do it all in your lifetime. But maybe not all at once.