THIS WEEK’S EPISODE IN A VERY LARGE NUTSHELL:
Fun was a no-brainer. Like we’ve told you before, goodr has a doctorate in fun. Figuring out the word “authenticity” took a little more effort, and was ultimately brought to the forefront by co-founders Keri and Ben, when Stephen’s suggestion of “ownership” got shot straight down.
goodr’s values were not an overnight phenomena. They came to us while at an ayahuasca retreat three years in. Actually, they didn’t. They were values that the brand had been practicing from the beginning, yet they had not yet been labeled or dug into past the surface level. If you’re starting a company from scratch you might be able to develop two values from the get-go, but know that they’ll likely evolve. It takes time to figure out what your jam is, get established and find the core talking points. It is a process that requires being open to change.
Our mission statement originally was: “We’re recklessly committed to fun… blah, blah, blah sunglasses.” That has shifted to our mantra for the value of FUN. In this shift, our company-wide mission statement changed to: “We exist to give you permission to be unabashedly yourself, unless you’re an asshole.” We are all about giving people permission to be themselves. We get fan mail constantly, customers writing in the goodr brand voice, throwing goodr themed weddings (no seriously, that’s happened and Carl the Flamingo couldn’t have been more tickled pink!). For $25 we put a smile on someone’s face and empower them to be unique. We added the “...unless you’re an asshole,” line because that is who we are! It makes us unique. It’s authentic.
The mantra for the value of AUTHENTICITY is: “If the goal is being authentic and people don’t like you it’s okay. If your goal is being liked and people don’t like you, you’re fucked.” As Stephen goes on to explain, “In a world with so much noise, how do you get remarked about? You do that by doing irreverent, remarkable things. To cut through, you have to be different. If you’re something to everyone, you’re something to no one.” It’s okay if you don’t like us. You have the power to be unabashedly yourself, you don’t have to wear goodr.
We developed four pillars for each value:
1. Being good is fun to us. Preparing and showing up is fun.
3. Agency and ownership. It’s really fun when you have control over your own life.
4. Self-care: This is one of the harder ones, but we made it a pillar because now it forces us to lean into it.
TIME TO GAME THIS OUT!
The person who doesn’t get it: “How do values affect my bottom line?”
The person who gets it: “Whether you want to own this or not, your company has values, so you can either decide to create them and lean into them, or you can let them be created themselves. If they’re created themselves, then they’re probably not going to be something that you want.”
The reality is, values are probably the biggest factor to your bottom line.
goodr’s ability to label supporting and slippery behaviors has become HUGELY beneficial. It is easy for individuals to understand; it’s grounded in reality, helping make it a way softer approach.
Breaking down our supporting and slippery behaviors for FUN & AUTHENTICITY:
Supporting behavior for fun: Being prepared. We made a monster deck, loaded with research and awesomeness and showed up to a big pitch. It went from us trying to pitch something to the partner enthusiastically asking, “How soon can we get you in?!” We showed up and gave it everything. We had a baller ass deck and project plan and felt the success before we even walked in the door.
A slippery behavior for fun is: Winging it and not expecting to win. If you’re trying to get a big point across, you better get this correct.
Supporting for irreverent: Our wild content.
Slippery for irreverent: Watered down, copy cutter content.
A supporting behavior for self-care: Taking vacation!
A slippery behavior: Working 12 days in a row.
This list goes on, and on, and on, and on, and on. We have an 84 slide deck on this, and we talk through one at random every week at our company meeting.
Giving feedback allows us to prevent backchanneling and gossiping. If you’re not telling people when they’re acting in a supporting way and when they’re getting slippery, how will they know? Our ability to give clear and consistent feedback continuously at the core is the most important thing we can do to live into our values. The point is not to get rid of all slippery behaviors. The point is to bring them to our awareness. If you can identify them then you can work towards improving upon them. You can reduce them, but not eradicate them. The goal is all about awareness.
We know when we’re slipping up in life. At work we often think we are doing things great, unless someone is explaining to you the expectations and why, then how are you supposed to know?!!
Stephen created his own values, with supporting and slippery behaviors. They are showing up and authenticity. 80% of everything is just showing up. Here is an example of authenticity: Stephen is into fashion and being himself. When he goes to speak at engagements, he wears whatever the fuck he wants. He doesn’t rock your average “entrepreneur uniform.” The second he puts on a stuffy blazer he knows he is not leaning into his values— that would be slippery. We’ll add that goodr is a successful brand, so this helps, and he always looks sharp AF. It’s not like he’s wearing a mustard stained shirt on the Inc. Magazine stage. When people call themselves out publicly for being slippery it’s a win. We’ve developed a common language, which is a shared strategy. We can use it as a way to communicate directly. It’s a way of apologizing without being so apologetic.
Shaun asks, “What would you say to someone who thinks that values are bullshit (if they still think that at this point)?”
“Cool, have fun.” Stephen is def not going to try to convince people of things that they aren’t willing to bend their brain around.
The biggest challenges to rolling out values in a meaningful way:
>> Start by reading “Dare to Lead” by Brené Brown. This is where our value inspiration comes from. She gives you a wonderful way of unpacking values.
>> Be okay to pivot
>> Realize that it is a practice
Ultimately, if you’re still not buying into it, ignore the value, and think about it as supporting and slippery behaviors. The value will come. Don’t be afraid to share your values, get it out there and continuously revise it as necessary. When we started doing this, it took time to get it to the point of a pretty polished deck. Oh! And only pick two values! Because 6 values are garbage. We’ll let Brené explain that one to you.
Each of our “flocks” (what other businesses might call “departments”) also each have their own values. What is important to finance is probably not as important to customer service. Eventually, every employee will have their own individual values, that they know and practice on the reg.
What is the most common supportive behavior? Inclusion. The content team crushes this by casting diverse models for every shoot.
Favorite example of a project that supports a value: March Mayhem. We did a bracket system with the different names and icons of our sunglasses. Theresa, a brand manager who doubles as our podcast editor, brought it to the table. She didn’t say, “we should.” She said, “here is how,” and made it happen over the next two months.
Hardest thing about living into your values: Recognizing when you’re slippery AF all the time. We all know when we’re slippery. It’s hard and awkward.
Do you think you’d ever change one of goodr’s values? Probably not, but he said probably, so who knows.
Do you think every company would value by clarifying their values? Fo sho. Only if leadership has bought into it. If not, it’s not going to work.
* This episode of CULTURE goodr was edited by Theresa Garcia.