My favorite Yalo time of year . . . In true Yalo fashion, we held our summer outing in August in Georgia on a party boat. I am happy to report that there were no major injuries. But there were absolutely some sore body parts from folks launching themselves from all parts of the boat, up/down/left/right, oh and from the slide off the back (face first). We basked in the hot sun and admired the beautiful dusk of a fine summer’s afternoon on Lake Lanier. And on a Wednesday, we practically had the lake to ourselves. It was really a great day to pull our heads out of the sand/get off the hamster wheel/take a deep breath and conjoin as friends that happen to work together, trust each other and support each other to make our clients the best damn clients any agency could have. Throughout the day, we bonded, listened to music, drank a little (or a lot) and laughed even more.
You might wonder, did we work? The answer is “a little.” But that “little” was critically important to our future being and direction. It is the rare time when we all get to discuss who/what/where we all collectively want to be going forward. That conversation this summer revolved around simple things such as our Mission, Vision and Values. You know, no biggie . . . But certainly worthy of a few cocktails to open up the trust-tree-feedback loop. Approaching our 6th anniversary, this year has been a growth period for Yalo as we transition into an established Agency to be reckoned with in the Southeast and in the Midwest. Being in that position, we have a duty to ourselves as well as our current and future clients to map out how we view ourselves today vs how we view ourselves in 2, 3, 5 years.
There was a healthy banter about language, terms, specifics, vibe, positioning and more. “Is this the right attitude?” or “Is that word more representative of Yalo?” But it was inclusive of everyone thinking about not themselves, but Yalo as a whole, and as Yalo as a part of themselves. Which reminds me of the great statement “The best employees are the ones who treat the business as if it were their own.” When that happens and you get to be a part of it, witness it . . . well that makes this all worth it.
During our foray of friendly debate, the best output came rocketing out of the discussion around our Vision. We were debating who we want to be someday (as you do when discussing your aspirational Vision). By the way, there are plenty of guidelines and examples of what great Vision statements look and sound like out there. For example, Tesla’s is to create the most compelling car company of the 21st century by driving the world’s transition to electric vehicles.” And we could have used these guidelines to keep us on the well-traveled path.
BUT! This is Yalo. We endeavor to always Defy. Fly. Thus, I was truly inspired by 2 things that happened during this Vision discussion.
- First. There was a statement that shoved us off of the well-traveled path and to be truer to our Yalo-selves, our core essence. “That doesn’t feel like Yalo, that feels/sounds like a lot of other agencies.” Hmm, that person was 100% right, and that was a great way to express what I think a lot of folks were struggling with. That got us moving in the right direction.
- Second. “We are inspired by film, arts, music and sports. So then our Vision should be inspired as such. It should not be a statement of words but rather a visual that expresses our Vision.” Well hot damn, that got us cooking with fire.
It was a great day by all accounts. By the end of the long day, we had expressed ourselves, we had contributed to the Yalo fight and we had fun doing it.