Matt Landeman: Inspiring staff with a clear set of values can support strategic growth


For any ambitious organisation with eyes on strategic growth, it is necessary that each employee is aware of, and buys into, the business values at the heart of the enterprise. This is especially pertinent in fast-paced and quickly evolving sectors such as media, where keeping employees up to speed with an organisation’s values is an ongoing challenge.

At Carat, we want to build a culture that encourages and supports our values. It is business-critical that we encourage our people to innovate, to ask the hard questions and to always push both themselves and our clients forward in the digital economy. After convening staff focus groups, we came up with an internal phrase to better express this. Our new mantra is ‘Make Brave Happen’.

For the past few months we have invited in guest speakers once a month to share their personal stories of bravery or going against the grain. But to really demonstrate how invested in this the organisation is, we organised a full week of programming featuring extraordinary and inspirational guest speakers.

The centrepiece of the week was an all-agency away day. The morning of the away day featured a talk from our group chief executive officer (CEO) and three guest speakers, including the co-founder of Walking With The Wounded, who led wounded servicemen and women (and HRH Prince Harry) on expeditions to both the North and South Poles; a motorcycle-racing, world champion and Paralympic alpine skier who took up the mono-ski after being paralysed from the shoulders down; and a former SAS officer who now consults on Channel 4’s ‘SAS: Who Dares Wins’.

A top client also came to the stage in a question-and-answer session with our CEO and spoke about how much he values bravery from his team, further giving the staff ‘permission’ to be brave. Later in the afternoon, the agency was divided into 26 teams and sent on a curiosity-fuelling, city-wide visual treasure hunt.

While the week itself was designed to inspire, the practical implications from the day will be reinforced over the coming months with further content from external speakers, access to mentoring and career development, buddying across the agency, and special recognition programmes to celebrate those going the extra mile. Our hope is that by creating the conditions for bravery and consistently inspiring our people around this theme, they will be encouraged overall to innovate and pioneer on behalf of our clients.

If an organisation wants to grow, it also needs its staff to grow alongside it. That means inspiring employees with a clear set of business values, no matter what sector you are in, to foster an environment that celebrates mutual success for the business and its employees.

Matt Landeman is managing director at Carat UK