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Room 214 Core Value: We Lead with Humility

In this series, we’re going in-depth on our core values—how we developed them, what they mean to us, and how they help us create coherence in our studio. This week, we’ll focus on how we work.

We Lead with Humility:

We value good ideas over titles and tenure. We share in the challenges and rewards of our work, and prefer “we” over “I” in client communication. We balance being independent and collaborative, each doing what they do best to support our clients and each other. We elevate our work by gathering a diverse set of minds to tackle big challenges.

It’s become fashionable for marketers to talk about how humble they are. This weird battle to assert an agency’s humbleness while simultaneously talking about how insanely hard they work and how impossibly cool their office is—it can feel misguided. We’ve aimed for a (hopefully) more self-aware approach grounded in the concept of servant leadership, which places service first over a desire for power or personal gain. 

This comes to life in a few different ways. First, focus on team transparency by following the principles of Open-book Management, which gives us a level playing field from which to communicate. We also actively invite participation from all team members in our annual planning process. We set checkpoints to share progress and collect feedback from the team. And our annual vision workshop acts as a forum to ask questions and provide ideas for improvement. 

Room 214 Co-founder, Jason Cormier says, “The best leadership lesson is you are going to make mistakes along the way.” It’s in this knowledge that we can as leaders remember to seek out advice, different perspectives, and challenges to our own beliefs so we can keep improving how we work and what we deliver.

Leading with humility extends to client relationships, too. It’s easy to fall into routines with retainer work, so look to the account team, particularly new and junior team members, to help challenge the status quo. We ask: Why do we do things this way? What if we tried doing it a different way? Does this activity continue to provide value to the client? When we’re open and honest with ourselves, we can deliver better work and stronger results.

Leading with humility is a practice, not a finite endpoint. We encourage our whole team to embody this pursuit in everything we do. How does your company think about leadership? Have you gotten caught up in a who’s-more-humble battle? What are the key ways you define the way your team works?

Michael Kwolek

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