Let us start with a story. It is 2016. We worked with a coach, Cameron Herald, who taught us the concept of Vivid Vision. The concept revolves around building a goal that outlines where we grow as a company and run together towards one shining vision. It seemed intriguing, so we wrote largely aspirational goals without a clear understanding of how to get there, but with faith that if the team finds this vision exciting, we will find a way to get there together.
And magic happened; almost everything we put in our vivid vision came true! Not only did we achieve our goals, but we also discovered our purpose and mission as an organization, which brought our team closer together than before. However, we were missing one major piece, contribution. We didn’t include contribution in the first Vivid Vision because when we wrote it, contribution was already integral part of our community. We had quarterly community service events, including our fall campaign, the Basket Brigade. As time passed, we realized that we were growing because we were hungry, we were competitive, and we wanted to make a name for ourselves in the industry, not because we wanted to improve the community around us. At that point, we knew we were giving because it seemed like the morally correct thing to do, yet not devoting our company to give back to communities around the world.
The time has come to create a new 2023 vision. It was a scary process, even overwhelming at times because it is one thing to fantasize and it is a different thing to build a future for over one hundred families all over the world. We’ve seen what happens when we make a difference and we see what happens when we grow because we give. We no longer contribute because we have the resources; we have the resources because we contribute. People called it “the secret”, “law of attraction”, “karma,” etc….
We call it “Give to Grow.”
We give so we can grow into a company that is a reliable source for communities around the world.
Through the years, we’ve tried to give back to our local community as much as possible through donations and fundraisers. However, one year we decided to give back in a new way, by paying off all school lunch debt at a local school district. The impact of our actions went far beyond school lunch, to the point where a stranger took the time to call and leave a voicemail about how thankful they were to know that InfoTrust is putting in the effort to improve the communities around us. This moment is still held dearly in our hearts and empowers us to keep giving back.
Launching Our 2023 Vivid Vision
Now, launching our plans for 2023, growing is not only about being competitive or hitting new revenue milestones but also about including our communities as we expand and improve. As our mentor, Jeff Hoffman, co-founder of Priceline.com and one of the most amazing humanitarians we have ever met, said, “Entrepreneurship is a sport and you need a score to know that you are winning the game. There is nothing wrong with making money, but there is everything wrong with not using it to help others”.
Getting ready for our Vivid Vision 2023, we had planned the official launch to line up with our annual InfoTrust Week. This is a time dedicated to bringing our employees around the world to the Cincinnati office and hosting events to bring everyone up to speed about our past endeavors, review current plans, and brainstorm for the future. Originally, all the employees were supposed to come together and contribute to the Vivid Vision, however, due to COVID-19, a lot of our travel plans fell through and we had to pivot to plan B to make sure that InfoTrust Week still happened. Yet, the question remained, how were we supposed to maintain the excitement of InfoTrust Week while the pandemic was hitting an all-time high? Not only that, but how were we supposed to launch a 3-year vision, when we couldn’t even predict what will happen in the next month?
In such times of adversity, InfoTrust is not a company to back down, so while the issues presented were challenging, we overcame those hurdles and decided to create an enhanced version of our 3-year Vivid Vision. We are still sharing a Vivid Vision and as a company, it is now more critical than ever that we focus on the same bright and exciting future ahead of us and move full speed.
As part of our enhancement, we decided that a short-term vision would be beneficial to guide our company through one of the most challenging times in modern history, which focused on four key aspects:
Our Team Members
We are committed to the health of the families of our employees. We are not opening the offices until we feel that it is safe and we will not be putting any lives in danger.
We opened InfoTrust Week with a No Layoffs Pledge. Especially at times when we have 20% unemployment and every family is impacted in some shape or form, it is critical to eliminate fear and uncertainty. Our pledge was originally supposed to end in June, however, we extended it to last through October 1st, to make sure no family feels as if their livelihood is at stake.
We have been practicing “Meetings Suck” for about a year and we are committed to working with our coaching partners, holding ourselves accountable, and optimizing our schedules and calendars to assist employee families, especially the ones with children, and learning how to do more with less time.
Equity, not Equality
Originally, we feared that due to the economic situation, we would be forced to find ways to temporarily cut our wage expenses. Our solution was going to be to share all numbers with the team and ask them to suggest how big of a pay cut they were comfortable with for the next 3-6 months. Since that was unnecessary, we were proud to be able to maintain the wages of our team members and continue to make sure that they and their families can keep income secure.
While job and income security is something we wanted to uphold, we wanted to do more. The “No-Layoff Pledge” was just the beginning of our commitment to take care of our team members and their families. We also wanted to help people overcome any work-related fear or anxiety that they might have, so we focused on improving and overcoming the sources of anxiety that we could control, such as:
Being transparent in any way we can. True to our culture, we shared the good, the bad, and the ugly during our weekly “Town Hall” meetings.
Implementing virtual “coffee chats”. Twice a week, we host an optional online meeting where we can hang out in small groups and discuss non-work related issues.
Intentionally opening up new positions. We wanted to make sure that if something happened to one of our team members, whether they get sick or needed to take care of their families, we have additional people to keep InfoTrust running smoothly.
Physical health is now more important than ever. We have morning and afternoon online exercise sessions to somewhat make up for the gym closings.
Businesses that have previously survived, even thrived during the last few recessions almost had one thing in common; higher purpose. The team managed to develop a larger sense of the mission and was able to look past the bad, and onto the good.
The pursuit of higher purpose unleashes new levels of energy, productivity, creativity, and company culture, replacing fear and anxiety with abundance and gratitude.
As we kept thinking about the definition of higher purpose, we realized that the pursuit of doing something for people who cannot repay us is the fundamental “alchemy” behind our “Give to Grow” vision for the future.
What does this mean, you might ask? Here is a quote from Alice in Wonderland;
“Well, in our country,” said Alice, still panting a little, “you’d generally get to somewhere else—if you run very fast for a long time, as we’ve been doing.”
“A slow sort of country!” said the Queen. “Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!”
Our vision for 2020 can be summarized as follows; we run as fast as we can to serve and take care of our clients and to continue growing, but being in an industry that is not impacted by COVID-19 as much as many other industries, right now it is our moral responsibility and our pursuit of a HIGHER PURPOSE that will drive us to run even faster so we can unconditionally help others.
25% of InfoTrust profitability for FY 2020 will be donated to InfoTrust Foundation
The business aspect of our Vivid Vision is quite lengthy, and I am sure you are pretty tired of reading this blog post, so in the near future we will publish a separate blog post from our CMO, Michael Loban, on what the strategy of preeminence means and how we see our purpose as trusted advisors to our clients.