posted September 1, 2017

Dagger Glimpses: #CultivateCultureATL

Maggie O'Connor

Before I go into the recap of last night’s amazing event on company culture, Dagger deserves a special shoutout. What makes Dagger a great place to work? The fact that the entire leadership team supports and encourages us to dream and build. Last night was a big night for the team and for me. I created and hosted a company-sponsored event called, “Championing Culture in the Modern Workplace.” Held at General Assembly inside Ponce City Market, I was beyond thrilled by the content, turnout, and overall energy. I want to recap some of my personal highlights from last night but before I do that, here’s a brief timeline for contextual purposes.

  • December 5th, 2016: An idea is born – create an event on company culture. Initially, this idea started out as a day-long conference. Obviously, this idea would alter. (Looking back at my original Google Doc is hilarious. Talk about some lofty goals!)
  • May 4th, 2017: Official date, location, and time locked down.
  • July 13, 2017: Put all my eggs in one basket and asked three people to be the speakers and panelists for the event.
  • July 14 and 18, 2017: Heard back from everyone, not only saying they were available but also exclaiming they would love to participate.
  • August 31, 2017: Game time. 

With a few nerves, I kicked off the event with some opening remarks. Major points I made:

  • Foundational to great culture is great recruiting.
  • A company is a great place to work because of its people and its focus on people.

Katie Rogers, VP of Customer Success and original culture champ OG, talked about purpose. Some favorite statements by her:

  • Purpose is the reason for existence and It’s the driving force that enables a company to define its true brand and create its desired culture.
  • We have to identify, embrace, and embody a purpose that inspires employees, customers, and the community.

Next up was Jeff Hilimire, CEO and Co-Founder of Dragon Army. He spoke on values and even donned a new haircut to emphasize his talking points. Major takeaways:

  • You need a vision, trust (top-down) and communication, and strong values to create great culture.
  • Five words: mini-fridges vs. vending machines. 

Last up was Kyle Stapleton, Manager of Culture and Experience at Turner Studios. Not only did he have a fire presentation on behaviors, he also had the jokes to keep the audience fully engaged and laughing. Gold nuggets abound but some big points:

  • “You can plan a pretty picnic but you can’t predict the weather.”
  • Once you notch a few quick wins, follow the 80/20 rule: invest in 20% of the interventions that will net the highest impact.
  • Always over-communicate.

A panel and Q&A session made up the final 30 minutes of the night. We talked about topics not yet covered, and answered some great questions asked by members of the audience. Before I knew it, the last 130 minutes had disappeared and instead of feeling completely wiped, I found myself entirely energized. The audience had been incredibly engaged, and it was obvious that they were walking away with tangible, actionable ideas to implement at their respective workplaces. That was goal #1 for me. Goal #2? Spark and inspire an ongoing, active conversation in Atlanta around workplace culture through consistent gatherings with other culture champions. The momentum is here. All we have to do is keep it rolling. Stay tuned!