VOLTAGE CEO Eric Fowles shares some personal learnings from the ups and downs (mostly downs) of 2018/2019. A broken back wasn’t even the worst of it.
In a world where everyone posts their best life (#blessed), we’re being robbed of witnessing something I believe is critical to success: the grit and determination and, yes, even the pitfalls of what got people to that point of success.
I had many years of struggle and failure before (and even during) founding VOLTAGE. Here’s how doing the right thing has helped me to win clients and transform a creative agency into a force for good.
1. Work with integrity.
I can say without a doubt that doing the right thing helped grow VOLTAGE from a two-man shop in a basement to a multi-million dollar, award-winning enterprise.
We work hard, we hustle, we embrace our privilege of being free to create. We also get that it’s not all fun and games – sometimes it looks like sweating it out through creative blocks, or humility through calls where a mismatch between client expectations and our expectations created disappointment. It means taking responsibility whether we want to or not.
Work hard and do the right thing. It’s always that simple, even though it’s not always pretty.
2. Serve with integrity.
Whether it’s your job, your vocation, or volunteering, do it full-force. When I was starting VOLTAGE, I was asked to serve as scoutmaster through my church. At the time, it was difficult to balance the commitment required for scouting with the demands of starting a company and also helping to raise my six children. Despite the challenges and obstacles, diving into this new calling full-force was one of the best things I’ve done.
In fact, I can count a lot of the big VOLTAGE accounts as a result of giving all I’ve got from serving within what I was asked to do.
When it comes to clients and contracts, it’s easy enough to see a big list of to-dos. But when you see it as a chance to help someone bring a life-changing product or service, it changes everything.
3. Lead with integrity
When I left my previous venture to start VOLTAGE, a misunderstanding ended up costing my former employer. I wasn’t responsible for resolving that issue, but I did feel it was the right thing to do to step up and help out financially.
It pays to do the right thing, in everything – especially in business. In this case, my former employer became a great client, and since then, you can tie almost half of the big deals we’ve done to that moment of making the sacrifice to do the right thing.
You’ve got to have that long view and just know that it’s never smart to go for the quick money or to throw the other guy under the bus. The best businessmen that I’ve gotten to know, and I’ve gotten to know quite a few – the great leaders are the ones who live by those values and those rules. It’s what’s really made our business.
I’d love to hear your story about a time doing the right thing was difficult but turned into a win. Share in the comments!