THOSE OF YOU here in Fort Collins know how crazy it would be to leave OtterBox and their amazing employee culture.
Kristin Golliher did exactly that, back in February last year. To start a new business called WildRock Public Relations & Marketing. She has great passion for what she does: providing professional services to companies large and small across the nation.
But she has an even deeper passion for the kind of company she’s trying to create.
Yeah, I know – it’s all the rage these days. We see a whole bunch of laid-off workers who have decided to launch their own consultancies, and they have a big dream about an ideal lifestyle, no longer working for The Man, and retiring rich. Most of them end up bitter and unsuccessful.
Kristin created a Life Plan – an exercise supported and encouraged by Otterbox – which drove her into becoming an entrepreneur. She has a powerful mindset around leadership and customer service, which makes for a great company. And her principles are clearly making it a certain KIND of company. This is strongly supported with a professional business coach she works with, and the amazing team she’s hired.
WildRock will provide high quality public relations and marketing services to likeminded clients.
We stand out from the competition as a relationship-focused, boutique agency serving local and national clients with a rockstar team and culture. We will be a recognized agency in Northern Colorado, setting a new standard in the industry and a model company for the “right” way to do business.
They have a mission and vision, of course, and core principles. Who doesn’t, these days? What’s unique is that they’re regularly working on and refining these, along with the strategy and action plans. They take a full day every six to eight weeks, away from email and telephones, to assess how they’re doing, strengths and weaknesses, successes and issues. Their vision of the company is constantly being refined. They’ve learned that it’s important to have this discussion with just their direct employees, rather than including outside contractors who are each running their businesses in different ways.
In addition to team meetings, Kristin also meets with each employee once a week, to have an open one-on-one discussion to talk about successes, challenges, feedback, and plans. This makes for a tight-knit group who are strongly aligned on values and principles.
Because WildRock is a small company who have adopted a philosophy of limited travel, they prefer local Colorado mid- to large-size companies. With technology such as Skype, email and social media, they are also able to serve clients on a national scale and rather than traveling to various locations and sitting hours upon hours in airports, they are able to conserve a healthy work/life balance.
Do they lose deals because of this? Perhaps. But they’re fine with this decision because it makes WildRock the kind of company they can be passionately engaged in over the long haul. I get the sense that the concept of “burnout” has probably never been experienced there, much less created problems.
Kristin related a story to me about the initial image of the company culture. Originally, it had a bit more wackiness to it, concentrating a bit too much on craziness for its own sake. She found that this attracted some people who weren’t well suited to the company. They were discovering their values as they went along, and refining the message for themselves and others. They’ve refined their company philosophy to be:
|We believe in respect of others and ourselves, openness and creativity towards new ideas, maturity and positivity with our clients and as a team. We embrace change and strive for continuous improvement and are wildly creative. Most importantly, we collaborate, together.|
This, of course, translates into creative services for their clients.
Kristin recently had her second child, the first since forming WildRock. In this company, it would be totally logical for her to take a couple months of maternity leave. But how do you keep the business from going off the rails while its CEO is mostly disconnected? This was a true test.
After an extended planning period (Kristin was clear that you have to give people time to internalize the implications), the team pulled together beautifully. In her words, “absolutely amazing support.”
And that’s the kind of support she also gives her employees. You need to take time off to attend to an injured child? Of course; why would you even ask? You need to suddenly travel to be with family? Working remotely is absolutely an option!
These people are creating the company of their dreams, right before our eyes, and delivering great value to the market so that it can thrive.