This year, we’ll gather for our annual holiday party, just like almost every other business in the country. It’s a traditional letting-off-steam event that we all honestly look forward to each year (we all truly enjoy spending time together – lucky, right?).

In addition to the expected dining, drinking, and laughing about the white elephant gift we got stuck with, we’ll also distribute our annual peer-nominated Core Awards. These awards are given to the team member who best exemplifies each of our Core Values, the values that set the direction for everything we do.

The Big Sea Compass: Our Core Values

Our Core Values collectively form what we call the Big Sea Compass. The compass sets the direction for everything we do as a company, from the way we organize our work to what and how we communicate with our clients. From hiring decisions to the vibe we bring to a kickoff meeting, the core values are a curated, time-tested expression of what makes us tick.

Why? Because each core value relates to what we all cherish most: trust-based relationships with our clients and each other. It’s because we have trust that we can take risks and grow — as marketers, and as good humans.

The Big Sea Core Values are…

  1. Open & honest. Always.
  2. Own it.
  3. Elevate.
  4. Think long-term.
  5. It’s all personal.
  6. Smile.

(Take a gander at our About page to read the concise and handy expansions of each core value.)

How We Vote

So how do we decide who embodies each core value the most?

First, we revisit in detail what each core value means. I share a deep-dive into why each core value is important to Big Sea, concrete examples of a core value’s impact on our company and our lives, and recognition of the challenges that come with living up to our core values in tough circumstances. This is content the team has heard before — we talk about our core values in every meeting, and I send an email highlighting one core value each week.

Next, we vote. Pure democracy in action. Each vote weighs the same. Each is anonymous. Each voter has the opportunity to express why they voted for their person for each value. This is our opportunity to give meaningful, example-based feedback and recognition to each other, and this feedback is shared with the winner during the ceremony.

Our Core Values Guide Us

It’s true that every person at Big Sea embodies all of our core values to a high degree. These shared values are why a team member was hired (and was attracted to Big Sea in the first place), and why we continue to choose to work together. We’re not perfect, and we own that, but we’re all about bringing our empathy, our ownership, our curiosity — in short, our best.

We fuel incredible passion and results because we, as a team, are in tune with our collective purpose: growing businesses, creating opportunities, and elevating our industry—and ourselves—even higher.

I couldn’t be more proud of our crew, and I can’t wait to see not just who wins, but the reasons behind the votes.

Bring on the 2017 Core Awards!