We take culture seriously at DMA. And when we say culture, we’re not talking about lunch hang-outs or happy hours - although we do love those! We’re talking about our team and the way we work together, co-exist, and work toward shared goals. The reason we do this so well can be attributed to many things, but one of the major reasons is the resources Dan’l and the leadership team picked up along the way. Allow me to share my three favorites with you in hopes that they’ll mean as much to you and your team as they have to ours.
Our Top Three Favorite Cultural Resources
If you've spent any amount of time with a DMA team member or listened to Dan’l and Megan’s leadership podcast, Self Smarter, you’ve probably heard us reference the Enneagram. For those who don't know, the Enneagram is a self-assessment or a personality test that will identify you with one of nine different numbers:
- 1: The Reformer
- 2: The Helper
- 3: The Achiever
- 4: The Individualist
- 5: The Investigator
- 6: The Loyalist
- 7: The Enthusiast
- 8: The Challenger
- 9: The Peacemaker
In our opinion, the Enneagram goes much deeper than the Meyers-Briggs or strength finder tests (which we also love and have used). The Enneagram dives into the “why” behind everyone's behaviors and thoughts, whereas other personality tools focus more on the “what.” A good way of explaining this is to think about something simple like cleanliness. A lot of people like things clean… that doesn’t mean they are similar personalities or the same number on the Enneagram. The Enneagram goes into “why” people would like things to be clean. Some personalities like things clean because it makes others happy, others may like things clean because it is right, and others may like things clean because they want others to see them as put together and organized. You see, it’s not the “what” people are doing, it’s the “why” that determines our Enneagram number.
Once you know someone's “why,” it’s easier to relate to and understand the people you’re around or work with. Some Enneagram numbers are straight to the point and hate when people beat around the bush. So if I’m running an idea by them, I can be cognizant of how to present the information to get the most out of the person receiving it. Or, knowing that some numbers on the Enneagram are more analytical and need to learn by doing, I can save myself the time of showing them an hour-long presentation when they just need the basic info to start tackling it themselves. The Enneagram has completely shifted the way we approach ourselves and one another at DMA.
PS: we highly recommend you look into the Enneagram if you haven’t! Head to the Enneagram Institute to learn more and take the assessment.
Hungry Humble Smart
Another resource we’ve fully integrated into our culture is Patrick Lencioni's book, The Ideal Team Player. In this book, Lencioni describes the “Ideal Team Player” as someone who is hungry, humble, and smart. Here are my (very) paraphrased definitions of each of these attributes.
- Hungry - someone who is eager to learn more, raise their hand to volunteer, or step out of their comfort zone for the betterment of the business
- Humble - someone who isn’t seeking individual glory but values teamwork and sharing success
- Smart - (EQ > IQ) someone who is self-aware and uses sound judgment
We use these key characteristics as a checklist in our hiring process as well as in our everyday life at DMA. What “Hungry, Humble, Smart” did for our culture was it removed subjectivity. It gave us an objective definition to check ourselves and our teammates against. For instance, if I was checked out and going on auto-pilot in my client work, I would hope someone at DMA would have a conversation with me about needing to work on being more “hungry.” Or, if someone showed up in the morning after waking up on the “wrong side of the bed,” it gave us a language to say “hey, I don’t think that was the smartest way to show up.” This framework is something our team aims for in our personal and professional lives.
The last one (and newest one) for our company is another one of Patrick Lencioni's tools, “The Working Genius.” According to the Salveo Partners, The Working Genius assessment “evaluates which part of the team-driven act of getting things done each member of your organization is naturally good at and enjoys — and which things they don’t.” Sounds pretty ideal for a workplace, right? The six different types include the following:
- Wonder – pondering the possibility of greater potential and opportunity in a given situation
- Invention – creating original and novel ideas and solutions
- Discernment – intuitively and instinctively evaluating ideas and situations
- Enablement – providing encouragement and assistance for an idea or project
- Galvanizing – rallying, inspiring, and organizing others to take action
- Tenacity – pushing projects or tasks to completion to achieve results
The beauty of determining each person’s working genius is the ability to put people in positions to do their best work. For example, if there is a lot of work to be done and not a lot of time to do it, find someone who is “tenacious.” If you’re working through a tough or frustrating project, place a “galvanizer” on the team to encourage everyone along. Or, one of my favorite examples is using this framework during a brainstorming session. In an ideal world, you could pick one of each working genius type and put them in a room to brainstorm. You’ll get the most well-rounded, thought-out solution!
I know this may seem like an overwhelming amount of resources to undertake, understand, and implement. But, we promise, the work is worth it! Dan’l and Megan (our CEO and President) actually have several episodes over these topics on The Self Smarter Podcast. If you want to talk more, give us a call. We love sharing these resources!