This past year brought us opportunities, growth, and challenges that brought us closer together as a team. Looking around the room at last months retreat in charming Annapolis, MD, we could feel the alignment. Every one of us is here to work hard, deliver incredible results for our clients, and lead with empathy. We are all eager to evolve, learn, laugh, grow, and pivot with intention.
Most importantly, we are real people with real emotions who show up to produce amazing work. We respect and look up to each other as individuals, and that’s one of the core values that drives Red Thinkers. It’s a non-negotiable.
Here’s how much we believe in our people. During our retreat, we created a Red Thinking People mood board. Not a Red Thinking vision board. Not a client inspiration board. A PEOPLE mood board. We asked each person to provide one word that they bring to Red Thinking as a human, and one word they bring professionally. If someone was struggling, others pitched in to suggest the words they felt that person brought. It was empowering and truly something special to watch unfold. It happened so naturally, that people spoke up on behalf of others.
It was everything. & then some.
Of course, we reflected on the work as well. We examined our client onboarding and expectations to see how we can set ourselves up to say yes to opportunities and give our team room to develop thoughtful strategies. We focused on our design work and the top-notch creativity that emerges from this team. From new brands to rebrands, the design and storytelling are head and shoulders above what others produce. This past year, we refined the creative process to align the vision with the execution.
We also reviewed our digital services and content strategy to determine which services we enjoy, where we can come in as superheroes, and how we can do things differently, rather than simply following the traditional approach.
5 Things We Took From 2023
As we packed up to head back home from Annapolis, we came away with five themes from 2023.
- Differentiation: Never be apples to apples. We hold ourselves to a different standard, and we won’t settle for less.
- Education: What do our clients want to learn from us, and how can we equip them to succeed after the website is done or the SEO audit is finished? Is this just a checkbox for them, or are they committed to the process?
- Conversation: In a remote world, conversation is critical. It leads to deeper connections, fresh ideas, and a better understanding of ourselves and our world. If you think something, say something. We want everyone’s voice to be heard.
- Investment: We want to work with clients who are in it for the long term and who understand that a deeper relationship leads to better outcomes for everyone!
- Right People: We had growing pains in 2023, and we learned from them. Every company has a personality, and it won’t be the right fit for everyone. We are incredibly lucky to have an awesome team on board, and we know we’re all looking out at the future with the same vision.
5 Things We’re Excited For in 2024
With these in mind, one of the words that’s going to define our approach in 2024 is “proactive.” We’re ready to make moves, and we’re putting the plan in place to hit our goals — again.
- (Even More) Education: Our clients hire us because they know we’re the best at the work they need done. They often don’t understand exactly what they’re asking us to do — and that’s why they brought us in! We’re the experts, and they’re telling us that by hiring us. We can educate them on what we’re doing, but we also have to respect when they just want to give us the room to do our thing.
- Systems: The logistics matter. Our tools help us ensure our focus is on the work. In 2024, we’re eager to see the benefits of the groundwork we laid in 2023 that will allow us to feel more confident we’re spending our time in the right places.
- Resourcefulness: We’re a team that gets it done. We use our resources, whether it’s your colleague or online sources like YouTube, Google, or Reddit. Whatever it takes, we find the answer. Asking questions starts a conversation, and being self-taught is what separates the thinkers from the doers.
- Lifestyle: When the people matter, so does the investment in people, company, and ourselves. Our mental health is the top priority, always. We don’t believe in telling people what they want to hear — we believe in telling people what they need to hear. That’s the only way to collaborate and stay together.
- Paying it Forward: This year, we’re thinking and doing. We’re volunteering together and nurturing others and our communities through teamwork.
We’re ready to hit the ground running with our goals in 2024, but know that kindness and continued respect for each other will still be the backbone of everything we do. We’re all human, and we’re all doing the best we can. We support each other, encourage each other, and we work hard together.
Every single person on our team has worked in many environments, and we confidently believe we’ve created something different, not just in the work we produce, but in the way we treat each other and evolve, together.