In August 2011 at my dining room table, the Foursquare ITP team – myself, Shana Johnson, David Miller, Gary Byala, and two other then-current employees – crafted Foursquare ITP’s core values. These values, which supported us as we grew from a company of six to 45, have not changed in any substantial way and still guide us in our daily work. Now that we are much larger, we decided it was time to refresh and relaunch our core values in a way that is meaningful and at the forefront of everyone’s minds every day. These core values are:
- Passion for the Profession: Our success is rooted in our belief in and passion for our work, meeting all challenges with the appropriate set of skills, knowledge, and the desire to do our best
- Dedication to our Clients: We approach our clients with integrity, open communication, and collaboration to ensure that their needs are being met. Each client receives the personal attention, respect, and high-quality work for which we are known.
- Investment in Each Other: We respect all team members professionally and personally. We focus on continuous professional growth and improvement and promote a healthy balance between work and outside endeavors.
- Positive Outlook: Our team is driven by a can-do spirit and a strong work ethic, applying our adaptability and resourcefulness to every task. We truly enjoy our work and bring a positive attitude that is evident in everything we do.
Our Core Values Team, led by Jamie Roberts and Jennifer Hopkins with support from Lindi Harron and Matt Jones, did an amazing job setting up our new Core Values program, really thinking through the values and behaviors and working with senior management to finalize them; creating a new magnetic chalkboard wall to highlight the core values, shout-outs, and news; and developing ongoing recognition programs for employees exhibiting the core values in their everyday work. This newly formed team has already exhibited so many of our core values – including positive outlook and investment in each other – in taking this program and running with it.
On Tuesday, the Core Values Team held a company-wide mandatory lunch-and-learn where they shared the core values and the behaviors that one can exhibit to truly embrace that core value. For example, a behavior under the value of Investment in Each Other is to “provide mentorship and dedicate time to others.” A behavior under Positive Outlook is “remain resilient and positive in difficult situations.” Of course, these behaviors were already happening – from seeing our planners train each other on coding in R through partner coding, where one person guides the other through code writing as they are learning, to seeing team members continue on with a smile on their face when politics or other external forces derail months of analysis and planning work – we truly embrace these values. However, I’m really excited to see them formalized in a fun way. All team members are able to give any other team member a sticker award for any of the 29 behaviors under the four core values; bi-annual core values awards; and quarterly emphasis on a different core value to really absorb their meaning. In addition, everyone was given a Core Values water bottle so that we all have the reminder of the values when we take a sip.
Inspired by the famous statement by management guru Peter Drucker: Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast, this newfound emphasis on our core values is a step toward cementing what everyone who works or has worked at Foursquare ITP knows is a strong culture of dedication – to the profession, to our clients, and to each other. I’m so proud to be a part of this exciting effort and continued growth of the strong culture at Foursquare ITP.