Never Settle: The Road to Becoming Who We Want to Be

Behind the office doors, a wave of new challenges met virtually every company that returned to office after years of pandemic uncertainty. Between a hybrid work environment and new teammates—some whose careers began mid-pandemic—we’ve become pros at adapting.

But even as we took back our seats in conference rooms and stopped stumbling over small talk with our colleagues, we found ourselves craving more effective collaboration and meaningful work.

At GS&F, we were ready to rally together and re-align on our vision and passion. We actioned two agency-wide initiatives: the Agency Hard Refresh, aimed at tightening our processes and streamlining the ways we work together internally, and the Growth Sprint, an iteration of assessment season, focused on individual growth and development.

Both were critical to becoming who we want to be.

It’s Time for a Refresh

For years we’ve made a point to step away from our laptops to spend time together at our agency “Hard Refresh” events, where we learn about each other through unconventional activities– learning how to hone presentation skills, nailing the art of feedback, improv comedy…you get the picture.

With a staggered return-to-office after the pandemic, it had been a while since we gathered the team together for a reset. It was time for us to sharpen our accountability and revisit tried and true best practices.

Ahead of the in-person event, each department was tasked with creating a list of promises to the agency to be debuted at the agency Hard Refresh in the format of their choice.

Departments gathered to concept, plan and rehearse their pledges, which took the form of skits, films, runway walks and the classic strategy team Keynote presentation. A few of our promises included vows to be disciplined and consistent for a strong start, raising the red flag as early as possible if a deadline looks to be in doubt, and bringing more communication to improve hiring speed and team alignment.

While the live event allowed us to live out one of our core values, Have Fun, the Hard Refresh was about more than goofy skits. It was coming together as a team to improve our processes, and giving permission to call each other out on the hard stuff—rising together so that we can deliver the best work for our clients.

Committing to Never Settle

The Hard Refresh launched us into our fall Growth Sprint, which harnessed our newest core value, Never Settle. The Sprint offered a chance to reject mediocrity for ourselves, the agency and each other.

The Agency announced the fall Growth Sprint for the team in place of our usual fall assessment season, in favor of a dedicated time to focus on personal and professional growth and development and to answer the question: what’s in it for me?

“People are looking for a north star,” said Adam Winstead, EVP, Human Resources & Operations. “They’re working all day but to what end? It’s important for companies to have meaningful conversation about growth for the individual.”

Over about eight weeks, individuals spent dedicated time with their managers to answer prompts about personal goals, professional aspirations and key strengths and weaknesses. From the insights gathered in these 1:1 sessions, each individual created a growth plan that tapped into these learnings and better mobilized them to reach their goals.

The Growth Sprint is more than a path to promotion; it’s an opportunity for personal clarity and conviction coupled with a continued pursuit of greatness.

We Bring Out the Best in Each Other

These initiatives confirmed a truth we all know but is often forgotten: our best work rarely happens within our comfort zone. It’s the hard stuff that makes us better. True friends don’t let you settle for the sidelines; they cheer you on in the heat of the game.

“At the end of the day, we all want to feel more engaged at work and more fulfilled in our day-to-day. When we show up for ourselves and for each other in our work, we begin to run clean,” says Winstead.

We’re committed to bringing out the best in each other—and we’re eager to work with ambitious brands looking to do the same. Find out what makes us tick and take a look at what happens when we commit to greatness.

Want more of the good stuff?

Sign up to receive our articles once every few weeks, all wrapped up in a neat little email.