Güd Marketing – A Diverse, Equitable and Inclusive Work in Progress
by Deb Horak on April 6, 2021 • 5-minute read
One of my favorite principles was penned by the great American poet Maya Angelou, who said, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then, when you know better, do better.”
So it is with the focused and intensive diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) work that Güd Marketing has undertaken in the past few years.
The Best We Could: But Just Believing Is Not Doing
This company was founded more than 40 years ago and throughout the years, we always believed in the power and importance of diversity. We prided ourselves in our commitment to equal opportunity and somehow thought that valuing and wanting a diverse workforce would deliver one – that believing in it would be enough. Spoiler alert: It did not. We were cognizant of not only creating and designing content for people of varying abilities, but also focused on diversity, inclusion and cultural competency on behalf of our clients and their work – many of which are in the public sector and are leaders in such efforts. As a true believer in teams and the power of teamwork, I have always held that teams with broad and diverse sets of skills perform better, whether in sports or business. The complex challenges we and our clients face need this breadth and depth. The simple truth is that while we did believe, we honestly didn’t know what to do as it related to our own business. Recently – even before the events of 2020 elevated these questions – we began to ask critical questions: What do inclusion and equity mean and how do they enrich our thinking about diversity? How would our company grow and change? What is our path to a truly diverse, equitable and inclusive company and culture?
We Know Better: We Are Learning and Committing
Enter EOS – Gino Wickman’s Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) presented in the acclaimed book “Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business.” When we committed to the EOS method for planning and running the business, two pivotal things happened because EOS requires that we: clarify, publish and integrate our values into our day-to-day business. All six of our values connect to DEI in some way, but two seized the attention of our leadership and are moving us to make stronger commitments and take bolder action: a) Embrace differences, recognizing that all persons, methods and points of view matter, and b) Do the right thing, with uncompromising standards and integrity – we do what is right, not what is easy, and methodically develop a set of focused priorities and goals – visible to the whole company – with an owner/champion who is accountable to the leadership and the whole company. Working the EOS model requires annual goal setting with quarterly reviews, looking at one-, three- and 10-year horizons. As we become increasingly educated about genuine diversity, equity and inclusion efforts – working closely with two local leading experts, Freda Sampson and Tedi Parsons – we continue to adopt more, and more ambitious, goals for all three intervals. As the president of the company, responsible for agency culture and leadership by example, I am the owner/champion for DEI and am 100% committed to this crucial assignment.
Doing Better: In It for the Long Haul
Our work has just begun. It will likely never end. I am inspired by the Ford Foundation’s leadership in DEI where it claims Commitment, Action, Results, Progress, in that order. We are definitely committed and setting our course for specific action. And we will continue to learn. I know that results and progress will follow. We will be better – as people, as a business and as a member of our very diverse community. But this is not a quick hit nor is it a flavor-of-the-month program that fades away when some new issue pops up. It’s a long-term effort that requires diligence, focus and unrelenting honest self-appraisal. We are up to those challenges. I am overwhelmed by my own personal growth in recognizing when I am inadvertently surrounded by people just like me and actively seek to change that. Or when I am proactively thoughtful of the different cultures surrounding me and aware of potential barriers or my lack of understanding. And especially when I see others around me picking up the same mantle and powerfully challenging themselves and each other. I am hopeful and confident in our future growth. Yes, we did the best we could. And now, we are learning and doing better. I hope Ms. Angelou would be pleased.
Principal and President
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