We all have it within us to walk the extra mile, to rise beyond our expectations of ourselves, to not lose sight of our destination even when our eyes are blinded by the worst of storms and to swim against the tide no matter how strong the current is. All of this can be made possible by exploring the depths of our soul and finding the right direction every time we come to a standstill on a crossroad in life. Our values are what define us as humans, they determine the decisions we make under pressure in life and the course we choose in times of despair. When the journey of life becomes tough and hard to bear, it is our values that help us prove our mettle.
Shedding light on the power of human values, Ayn Rand, American Writer & Novelist says, “In the name of the best within you, do not sacrifice this world to those who are its worst. In the name of the values that keep you alive, do not let your vision of man be distorted by the ugly, the cowardly, the mindless in those who have never achieved his title. Do not lose your knowledge that man’s proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the approximate, the not-quite, the not-yet, the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish, in lonely frustration for the life you deserved, but have never been able to reach. Check your road and the nature of your battle. The world you desired can be won, it exists, it is real, it is possible, it’s yours.”
What are values? How do we define them? In simple words, we can define values as ethics, morals and principles that shape our code of conduct on a personal, organizational, religious and cultural level. It helps us navigate our life by using an established set of beliefs that helps us differentiate between the right and wrong and choose our actions likewise.
Only those of us can win the battle of life who stay true to the ethical and moral values that our conscience tells us is right. Everyday we have a choice to make, either we can move closer to our dreams by lying and cheating or by doing the right thing no matter how difficult the journey becomes. In the end, the real champion is the one who realizes his dreams by following the right path. Because when he gets what he wants by doing the right, he also wins inner peace and contentment that can never be achieved by giving up on the morals and values.
When I started my company back in 1999, I had a small team of people that were brought in to run the new venture with almost zero investment. We were struggling to barely survive in the market. That was one of the most trying phases of my life because the income was minimal while expenses had to be met at all costs. At that time, I had two choices; I could either take an easy way out at the expense of sacrificing my values to make quick money or fight the battle to the end to live my dream. I’m glad to have taken the second path because the pleasure of success achieved without falling from grace is far sweeter – today we have turned Synergy advertising into a Group of companies without compromising on principles.
Just as our values determine our altitude in our personal life, the values of an organization determine its long-term sustainability and growth. The challenge at the hand of any organization is to develop a corporate culture that creates a bridge between employees’ personal values and the organizational values. To make this possible, the organizational values need to be stated clearly and communicated to all employees time and again in a way that motivates them to give their best to their work.
Synergy – not just a name but a whole philosophy of life. The values we derive are not merely text but lessons learnt from life. All that I had learned from my experiences in life, I wanted them to become a part of the values of my organization because I believe these values have the power to form strong foundations for the company and employees to achieve greater heights and to face the most difficult of challenges with courage and dignity. To create a guiding force for my team, we came up with six core values:
- Client-Centrism – The interests and the needs of the client are paramount. The biggest sin committed by most advertising agencies is to ignore the needs and requirements of their clients. To be able to serve clients in a most effective way, we need to become guardians of their brands. The key to successful business lies in open and clear communication that leads to delivering best possible, customized solutions to clients. A case in point for us is Silk Soap. When we signed up with Silk Soap as our client, it was an unknown brand. They had limited budgets, but that did not limit our thinking as we were focused on end results. The success of Silk brand can be gauged from the multiple creative awards it won in recognition
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for achieving a high brand value. Our biggest honour was when Silk Soap became the only Pakistani brand to win the coveted Abby award in India.
- Synergy – Collaboration and teamwork at every level of the organization reaps superior results. We live in an age of high interdependence that demands everyone to pitch in with their expertise. Moreover, in advertising, interdepartmental collaboration is highly important. High conflict of opinion has always existed between Account Management and Creative departments due to divergent perspectives. As a team leader, my goal is to encourage harmony between all the departments and remind all my employees that we all rely on each other to achieve overall organizational goals as a team.
- Empowerment – Autonomous decision-making at all hierarchies creates a more rewarding organization. When people know that they have control over their actions then they can figure out how to channelize their energy in the right direction. Through this knowledge, they can use their authority for the benefit of organization. I personally appreciate those people in my organization who are willing to take initiative on their own. I am of a strong opinion that empowerment is the key to foster openness of minds, develop new opportunities and have a greater vision. Leadership Empowerment Committee (LEC) was formed in Synergy with the sole purpose of giving a voice and ownership to employees. The idea was to identify talent and let them find practical solutions through active participation.
- Responsibility – With empowerment exists the need for accountability at all organizational levels. Responsibility is an attitude of getting the job done. Once a person really takes the responsibility of doing a task he puts all his efforts in it and focuses towards solutions rather than giving excuses. Taking responsibility means making sure a job is done well; it requires determination, commitment and delivery.
- Integrity – Ethics and Integrity should be the hallmark of all activities. Integrity is an important part of self-evaluation. Someone who has integrity would always show a serious attitude towards work with the best interests of his organization at heart. He would work just as diligently at all times whether he’s being checked upon or not. Managers have a huge responsibility in this regard; if they expect integrity from their subordinates they need to first become role models for them and inspire them to work with honesty and conscience.
- Equality & Fairness – In all activities and interactions merit and justice must form the foundation. Equality involves overcoming the biases that may exist in an organization on the basis of social status, gender, culture and religion. It is important to maintain a neutral working relationship with everyone and treat everyone with equal amount of respect. Maintaining a fair practice with all employees is equal to telling everyone that no one is above the established principles. That’s why in Synergy, an employee’s progress isn’t dependent on bootlicking but is rather based on merit and hard work.
The long-standing values have always been and will be a source of guidance for my team and me. It is through these values that we have successfully completed 10 years in advertising industry and made it through a myriad of ups and downs in the process. Every time we fell short of performance, we learned from our mistakes by referring to these values that gave us the strength. I know that there are many hurdles still to be crossed and milestones to be achieved for Synergy. And I’m most certain that through these binding values, we would continue to move forward towards higher altitude because for us in Synergy sky is not the limit; it’s just the beginning!