The 12 Values That Drive Our Success

How do you create a successful company? Or, if you’re an employee at a startup or an established business, how do you ensure you’ll be successful at your job? Or if you’ve been running a company, when is the last time you assessed how your employees dictate your culture?


After a decade in business in digital marketing, we’ve found that the biggest key to success is to have a strong set of shared core values.

Company values define how each person approaches their work. People, processes, tasks, and tools can change over time; values ensure that your company’s core personality remains the same. They are the building blocks of a successful culture.

Although we’ve been living out our values for quite some time, we set aside some time this past summer to officially define and codify BuzzShift’s core values. We came up with a list of 12:

  • Leadership. Here, everyone is expected to be a leader. We believe that the best teammates know themselves well, encourage and inspire others, and always look at ways to add value to a situation. They act on behalf of the entire company, not just themselves.
  • Creativity. We strive to come up with new possibilities and different ways of doing things. Everyone is creative, not just those on the creative team.
  • Curiosity. We believe in being insatiably and randomly curious, because a deeper understanding of “why” always leads to a better “how.”
    • “I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.” – Albert Einstein
  • Collaboration. We don’t need heroes. We embrace teammates who work well together, respectfully challenge each other, and commit to the team once a decision is made.
  • Relationships. People over profits. We value our relationships with each other and with our clients, and build our business around growing the relationships that customers have with each brand.
  • Entrepreneurship. No matter how established we become, we remain scrappy and flexible, with teammates who embrace an ownership mentality to the company and our clients.
  • Growth. In addition to growing our clients, we strive for personal and professional growth, looking for ways to educate ourselves and our team to be ahead of our competition. We embrace change as an integral part of growth, both for the company, and for each teammate.
  • Strategy. There’s a reason behind everything we do. We are strategic advisors and thought leaders, not order takers. We believe in innovating and striving for excellence, not just delivering the bare minimum.
    • “Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” Sun Tzu
  • Humor. We don’t take ourselves too seriously, and find levity in every situation. We also literally have a “Fun Committee” that meets to come up with ways to keep things light and entertaining.
    • “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Jack
  • Authenticity. We share kudos and compliments freely, communicate obstacles quickly and clearly to resolve conflict, and give thoughts and ideas openly. We’re fully transparent with everyone on the team about company performance, goals, and updates.
  • Optimism. We believe in staying positive, no matter the situation, and believing the best about each other and our future.
    • “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” – Winston Churchill
  • Trust. We earn trust within the team by listening and focusing attentively, speaking candidly, treating others respectfully, and humbly putting others before ourselves.  We believe in being vocally self-critical, even when doing so is awkward or embarrassing. We benchmark ourselves and our team against the best.

Of course, you can create a company with a different set of values (and many people have). USAA, Netflix, and Amazon all have vastly different values, and last we checked they’ve all had at least a little success.

The key factor, which you’ll see in almost any successful organization, is that they do have well-defined values that define the kind of company they want to be.

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