When I started GK three years ago, I had come from a company where I saw many good things, but also paid close attention to what I would do differently if given the chance. While I can’t say for certain that I had a very specific vision for how the company would look, there were several things that I knew I wanted to be part of our company.
With the Jewish New Year here, and the launch of the new GK website, I thought this would be a good time to write an open letter to my GK colleagues as well as share my vision for GK with our wider community, and reflect on what we have collectively achieved together.
- At the top of my list, I wanted to work with people who are honest, accountable, responsible, dedicated, motivated, passionate, sensitive, compassionate and most importantly, caring. Its not easy to be all these things at once, every day, but when I think of our team, these character traits quickly come to mind for each of you. Each of you embody what it means to be a colleague and a friend and I am lucky that I get to spend every day with you.
- The second thing I knew when I started GK was that I wanted to give our (eventual) clients the very best of ourselves, day in and day out. This is no simple task, and our business is a tough one. We need to continuously prove ourselves. From our client’s perspective, yesterday’s results are great, but now we need to deliver, and do better, tomorrow. Deadlines, account management, travel, writing, meetings, research – everything needs to be done, and now! I knew going in that this would be a monumental task, but over the last couple of years, your dedication to your work and to delivering the very best for GK’s clients, has been inspiring for me. We may not think that every little thing we do impacts how our clients view us, but make no mistake, your continuous ability and commitment to going, and owning, the extra mile makes every difference in the world. This shows in the way our clients think of us – we help them achieve their goals, and they come to depend, and expect, that we will be able to deliver.
- When I was thinking about the structure of the team, I knew that I did not want a buttoned-up corporate-type setting that is based on slowly promoting junior employees through the ranks. I wanted to hire the right people, and the best people, and then give each team member the ability to take on greater amounts of responsibility, much earlier on in your careers than you would be given at other companies or in other industries. While I fully expect that each of you will wildly succeed when handed greater responsibility, you also should know that I am completely satisfied when we don’t achieve the collective goals we set our for ourselves, as long as we can honestly say we gave it our very best shot. If, at the end of the day, we can ask ourselves “did I do everything possible to make this a successful pitch/announcement/project, etc.” and the answer is yes, no matter the results, I am proud of you. (If the answer is no, well, that is another story).
- This commitment to honesty and transparency is also something I very much wanted to instill into the corporate culture that we are collectively building at GK. If someone messes up, we, as a company, do not hide behind the mistake, or try to pass it off as someone else’s fault, but we own up to it, fix it, and make sure that we don’t do it again. It takes a big person to come forward and take responsibility for a mistake, but all of you are confident and mature enough to know that while mistakes happen, they are simply opportunities for us to look inside ourselves, figure out what went wrong, learn from it and make sure we attack the situation differently next time. Beyond this, though, I simply love the fact that everyone on the team is so supportive of everyone else. We have created a team that genuinely cares for one another and will do anything for the person sitting next to, or across from them. My hope is that we are able to continue strengthening this part of our team, because it represents one of the most important pieces of who we are.
- The next thing I wanted to make sure we had embedded into the fabric of our company is for each of you to feel like you are part of something great. The definition of greatness is not a simple one, and I think it is more of a feeling or a sense than anything else. To create a great workplace is much easier said than done, and many potentially-great companies have failed because they could not capture, and retain, a sense of greatness. I think greatness for our purposes begins not on the professional level, but rather on the personal level. The qualities I outlined earlier of the type of people you are and the way you interact with others is the most important piece in creating a great company. This is far and away number one. But there is an important corollary to this, and that is feeling proud of the work you do and the companies we work with. There is no question in my mind that you should be extremely proud of what we have both collectively and individually accomplished. In fact, this sense of accomplishment is addictive. I know that your prior accomplishments motivate you to do even better next time. I also know, and can see, that when someone knocks the ball out of the park on a project or announcement, it inspires the rest of the team to do the same, and on we go. This is greatness. It is not something you can touch or hold. We just know it, and feel it. When combined with the type of people you are and the character traits you display every day, we are creating greatness on a daily basis. This is what makes our company a special place to work. At the end of the day, one without the other is not enough.
- Last, but certainly not least, I knew that I wanted to work with the best companies, each of which is a leader in their respective industries and each of which is creating products that are changing the world. Looking down our roster of clients, we can confidently say that we achieved this as well, and the group of clients that we have the privilege of working together with are some of the most impressive, creative and inspiring companies in Israel and around the world. Our clients have placed their trust in our ability to deliver results, and this is a responsibility we do not take lightly. The more that we give to our clients, the more that we deepen our love and appreciation for what they are doing, and the more we will work tirelessly to help them achieve their goals.
Together, we are building a company that is the best of its kind in Israel, and level with the very best firms around the world. I am so proud of all that we have accomplished and so proud of each and every one of you. You are part of this team because you are great at what you do and you continue to prove that day after day. I could not ask to work with better people – both personally and professionally. Collectively, you are the reason why GK is thriving and I cannot thank you enough for your commitment to making this company succeed.