Run. Walk. Race. Repeat.

Komen year 4 – today our BuzzBack Gives Back program sauntered to Central Park for the Annual Komen Race. We were there to support an important cause but also to support each other. One of us wears a pink number, and we are proud to run with her. That’s just one reason we join together. That’s what teams do.

To build a business you need to build a team – and when you build a team like ours, the passion, focus and commitment is on fire. It fuels growth and contagious energy clients want to experience.

Our team (shown) might have been dwarfed in size by our clients’ walking/running side by side with us today – Team Pepsi and Team Pfizer to name a few- but definitely not our spirit. It’s loud and evidenced by the work we do every day in key innovation initiatives for them. And it’s super obvious in our dynamic culture.

And when you really do it well the team takes over. They organize the effort, design great research, and exceed client expectations. Every day. My mentors told me that would happen – build a great team, an award-winning culture, and your business will really grow. They were spot on.

And then it all becomes just a walk (or run) in the park.

BuzzBack Gives Back

The Heroes Around You

Today Team BuzzBack did our 3rd annual Komen Race For The Cure. In addition to being a day for raising awareness and funds, it was also a day of celebration. Last year at this time, one of our team was undergoing chemo. While last year she walked – this year she ran!  The event is also a day of honoring as well – many of the walkers and runners (some of them our clients and friends) wear posters on their backs, listing the names of their heroes for whom they walk/run.

komen race

Seeing our team together – both the newbies and those of us who marked our third time- reminds me of what teamwork is and how much ours goes above and beyond.  Teams inspire each other and make it easy to get the hard stuff done. The super demanding client requests, intense timelines, and need for speed  never go away. But teamwork makes it all easier to tackle. In particular it’s the little things that a teammate might do that makes it worth sticking it out through challenges. This event day was no different – they organized the race, designed and ordered the shirts, rallied the tired, cheered the sprinters — just a few examples.

At the end of the day, this is a reminder we don’t need celebrities to aspire to – the heroes and rock stars on our team are more than enough. The idea of hero elicits imagery of bravery, courage, admiration – those are the exact qualities that make up our team. When I see our effort in an event like this, I’m reminded that surrounding  myself with considerate, caring, collaborative people, I don’t have to be the captain. They are qualified to take charge – and often in the most important way. The good human way.

We’re Only As Good As Our People

I am a regular reader of Adam Bryant’s Management column in the Sunday NYT. This week’s “Helping Employees Up the Ladder” was of particular interest to me. Sheila Talton, CEO of Gray Matter, talks about investing in her team. She says: “It’s very important that my team know that I’m invested in their career.”

At any research company, you’re only as good as your people. At BuzzBack, despite the number of awards we win, and the range of ‘cool’ online tools we develop for research, we’re only as good as our team.

That’s why we are thrilled to hear one of our employees was selected as an ARF 2014 Rising Star candidate – she is one of 3 others we’ve had at BuzzBack over the past few years, many of whom are still part of our team. I like to think everyone on our great team is a Rising Star, but we’ll honor our newest at this year’s ARF Great Mind Awards Ceremony in NYC on March 26th.

The Importance of Corporate Culture

In case you missed it, there was a great article about HubSpot and the importance of corporate culture. The headline alone reflects how I feel about a company’s culture and how important it is to maintain your culture as you hire and grow, and I think Brian Halligan hits on all the key points. Your culture is who you are and it can be a competitive advantage.

At BuzzBack we have 5 core values that depict our corporate culture. I didn’t make them up, we came up with them as a team. In fact, collectively, we all arrived at the same core words through brainstorming about 3 years ago, and we formalized these as our Core Values. For BuzzBack, it’s about the team. More than 35% of our employees have been with BuzzBack for 5+ years. And 40% of new hires are employee referrals. Can you imagine how powerful that is? When we hire, one of the things we make sure is that candidates fit this ethic; and when someone leaves, it’s usually because they reach a point when they don’t fit with our culture any more.