Sojourn News: State of Sojourn by Dan Vawter, Managing Partner
I’ve been part of an ongoing process here at Sojourn to develop and update our company’s mission, vision, and values. It's really important for us to define not just what we do, but why we do it, who we serve, and who we are.
We started Sojourn Solutions in 2014 with a small group of people. The organization has grown at a rapid pace since then, and our services have evolved too. Our clients and our industry have also changed. We’ve developed our mission, vision, and values to ensure that each of us is moving in the same direction for the same purpose.
We have Sojourners around the world who are working remotely, some working in offices. Our clients are global too. Our mission, vision, and values are intended to serve as our North Star, our reason for doing what we do, and for whom.
An inclusive development process
Developing our mission, vision, and values was not a top-down process where leadership imposed anything. Since leaders don’t necessarily have all the answers, we were inclusive from the start, working with representatives from every function and every country of our global business. It’s been a massive investment, but we’ve been committed to hearing everyone’s voice at Sojourn.
A huge benefit of fostering an inclusive process is that everybody within the organization had to think through the same issues at the same time, then share their thoughts with everyone else. As a result, all of us better understand why we do what we do and how we're going to collectively deliver value for our clients and for our employees over the next five years.
The mission: when clients succeed, so do we
We exist to help our clients establish, prove, maintain, and grow their marketing outcomes. Getting client projects done on time and within budget is table stakes. We want to provide more value than that. So we always want to ask our clients, ‘why are we doing this project? How does it contribute to your business outcomes?’ In short, we partner with our clients to help them achieve their business outcomes. When they achieve, Sojourn achieves.
The vision: enabling our people and our clients
Our vision is to build a company where our people are always one step ahead of our fast-evolving industry. We will enable our people with training and support to provide the maximum value for our customers. For our customers, we want to understand their needs and provide the best possible customer experience.
The reputation of Sojourn can only be built on the dual successes of our clients and our employees.
Our three core values
Our three values are achievement, adaptability, and teamwork. Achievement is about actually helping our clients excel as a business, knowing why we're doing a project and then achieving that business outcome. You can do tasks really well, but what’s the value if they’re the wrong tasks that don’t deliver measurable value?
As a company and as Sojourners, we love that sense of achievement when we help clients reach outcomes such as improved revenue or pipeline, cost and/or time savings, or whatever business outcome our clients seek to achieve.
Adaptability comes into play because our clients are all in different places on their journey towards business maturity and growth. Being able to adapt to all those different organizations and situations is so very important. It's bringing a problem-solving capability to different environments. It's communicating effectively with different types of people and groups. It’s working well with small companies and big companies, adapting your terminology and communication style to different companies and stakeholders.
Teamwork is key. We hire people who are team players, stars who work well with other stars. Nobody can know it all, especially in the fast-changing business we're in. One consultant might interact with the client, but when they don’t have an answer, they need to bring in one of our experts who can better lead specialized conversations. We work together as a team to give our clients the best possible level of service.
We celebrate the success of our clients and our people
Anytime there's a success with a client or an accomplishment by a Sojourner, we share and celebrate that success across the whole company. We take time to do that every single week, because it matters.
We believe in listening to our Sojourners because they add value to what we do and help our decision-making process.
We have an employee advisory board and other channels where our employees help us make big and small company decisions. We trust our Sojourners, and give them autonomy and support in working with our clients. They’re smart enough to know when to tell a client, “I don’t know the answer, so let me check with the team and bring in an expert Sojourner who can share relevant insights.” Again, no one person can know everything and serving client needs come first.
A great employee experience translates into a great customer experience
When an employee feels enabled by training, support, and recognition, as well as by the Sojourn team, that employee is going to be more productive and more committed to the job of helping our clients improve and prove marketing performance.
Committed employees are simply more productive and more creative in their jobs, and that translates directly into better customer experiences. We want customers to actually see and feel our commitment to them.
The development of our mission, vision, and values has been one of the most important and valuable initiatives we've ever undertaken here at Sojourn Solutions. It’s been an enormous time commitment, but it’s been utterly worth it because all of our people are now working in one, clear direction towards one, clear future state of our company. We have a better business now than we did back in 2014 or even a year ago, in almost every respect, but especially in our ability to deliver more value for our clients and our people. We are here to help each other as Sojourners, and help our clients improve what they do.