In Praise of Humility

Staying humble improves who we are as people, how we function as a studio, and the quality of our work.

The Downsides of Ego

Egos get in the way of creativity.

If you think your ideas are the best out of the gate, it’s going to be difficult to accept feedback, be open to trying alternate solutions, and iterate in any meaningful way. People with big egos can block introverted folks, preventing them from speaking up and adding valuable input. They might even sabotage other ideas, so that theirs “wins.”

Benefits of Humility

We all have good ideas, and not-so-great ideas.

Humble people are driven to learn from others and improve themselves, understanding that they’re never done learning or improving. Recognizing that other ideas, approaches, and aesthetics have merit is essential in creative work. There are a lot of other creatives that we admire. In many cases they have very different styles from us, but we acknowledge powerful work when we see it.

Our flat hierarchy encourages humility. Internal feedback is focused on improving the work, rather than criticising the person doing it. We all have good ideas, and not-so-great ideas. By recognizing this, we remain humble and don’t take criticism personally. That makes for a collaborative environment where we’re all open to new thoughts and approaches. As creatives, we know that inspiration can come from unexpected places. Getting our egos out of the way creates opportunities for insight.

A Humble Culture

Why settle for ‘it works’ if we can get to ‘it rocks’?

We look at client feedback in the same way that we look at internal input, and we appreciate people who push us to take our work to the next level. We understand that we get hired because of our expertise, but also know that you understand your business and market better than we do. So, we’re always open to input focused on making a project more successful. When our clients understand this aspect of our culture, it makes them more comfortable giving us honest, actionable feedback.

Having both internal and external feedback aimed in a positive direction makes for a more relaxed and open work environment. That leads to trust, which opens the door to true collaboration. When ideas flow freely without personal attachment, it’s much easier to work with other people and to feel secure about making and accepting contributions.

Humble vs. Competitive

We made a choice to work from a place of humility. But we recognize that this approach isn’t for everyone. Some people are motivated by competition, title-changes, or growth in status. Our perspective on this type of work culture differs from some agencies.

"As creatives, we know that inspiration can come from unexpected places. Getting our egos out of the way creates opportunities for insight."

The Power of Humility

Humble doesn't mean that we’re weak, wishy-washy, or pushovers. People who work with us quickly learn that we have strong opinions, and leverage our expertise and experience in making decisions and giving recommendations. The strength of humility comes from the ability to separate our work from our egos and let the best ideas win. It means allowing conventions and preconceptions to be challenged, and being open to new ideas and contrary viewpoints.

Ultimately, we choose to be humble because we recognize that the work that we do isn’t about us. It’s about the people we work with and helping them achieve their goals. It seems like a cliché, but our success is literally based on the success of the people and the organizations we work with. Great projects lead to long-term working partnerships, solid recommendations, and referrals. For us, those are affirmations of the power of humility.

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