In The Trenches

20 Principles for Building Stronger Relationships

Published on March 29, 2016 Back to blog
The Frozen Principle

At Small Army, I have one simple goal in running the agency:  make sure that everyone who works here looks forward to coming to work every day and leaves with a smile on their face. If I can succeed at this one thing, the business will thrive.  Our team will do work that they are proud of (making clients happy). They will tell others about the agency that they are so proud to work at (attracting potential new clients and employees).  And, they will stay with us longer (maintaining great people, key knowledge and important clients). Some days, this proves more difficult than others. But I am always trying.

So, when I recently had the opportunity to listen to culture expert, David Friedman, speak at an event, I soaked in every piece of advice he gave.  He spoke about the importance of rituals, and how creating them is the best way to incorporate new behaviors into an organization.  He shared stories of how one person could negatively impact a culture (and the importance of addressing it quickly).  And, he advised us to tell people how to live the culture as opposed to just telling them the values that you want them to live by (i.e., honesty, integrity, excellence, etc.).

After his speech, I thought a lot about the types of behaviors that we want everyone at Small Army to embrace.  Behaviors that, when followed, will make everyone happy (back to my original goal). I then put pen to paper and, in conjunction with a bunch of very smart and talented people on my team (especially, our rock star illustrator, Brandon Brown), we created the 20 Principles for Creating Stronger Relationships. Here’s a quick sampling:

  1. The Pinocchio Principle:  Never tell a lie
  2. The Rosie the Riveter Principle:  Inspire and be inspired  
  3. The Frozen Principle:  Let it go
  4. The One-Day Principle:  Respond within 24 hours
  5. The MacGyver Principle:  Find a way to get things done

Now, every Monday morning, I send an email to everyone at the agency reminding them of one of the principles (a new ritual). We also created decks of Flash Cards to remind everyone what they are – and encourage them to give the appropriate card to others when a principle is broken (kind of like getting a Yellow Card in a soccer match).

As I’ve shared these principles with colleagues and clients, they’ve asked me how they can get a copy. So, we created this booklet of the 20 Principles for Building Stronger Relationships.  

Download it. Print it out. Share it with your friends. And, most importantly, follow the principles. You can thank us later. 

Jeff Freedman
CEO/Managing Partner
Small Army | Finn Partners