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Five Guiding Principles After Five Years on Outside’s Top 5

Stop trying to find a work-life balance – It doesn't exist.


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\We feel fortunate to be named among the top 5 Best Places to Work by Outside magazine for the past five years. In the spirit of celebrating this honor, we’re pleased to share five of the guiding principles we live and breathe at our agencies.

  1. CULTURE IS INTENTIONAL, BUT IT MUST BE ORGANIC

It is up to the leaders of an organization to set the tone and ensure a strong culture, but that intention only goes so far. A company’s culture is a true amalgamation of the people who work there, and their values and inspirations. The best thing leaders can do is lead by example and let team members take it from there.

  1. VALUES MATTER               

It’s no secret… We hire for values. We also fire for them. Uncompromising integrity. Mutual respect. Passionate collaboration. Those are our core values. When we hire, we make sure our team members share our core values and they also bring “talent-tude” to the table – mad skills complemented by a great outlook on work and life. Skills can be taught; values cannot. Ensure everyone on your team shares and lives those values, and the ship will start to guide itself.

  1. KNOW YOUR NON-NEGOTIABLES

Define what your company stands for, and then determine what are you are not willing to stand for. Are there industries you aren’t comfortable representing? Personality types you aren’t comfortable working with? Business practices that don’t align with your values? Draw your line in the sand, communicate it with your team, and don’t waiver. If we decide to walk away from a client, sever a relationship with a partner or say goodbye to a team member, it is usually because there is a non-negotiable on the table. Walking away exemplifies your values and builds trust among team members.

  1. THE LAST FIVE MINUTES LAST LONGER THAN FIVE MINUTES

We’re big fans of renowned author Seth Godin. Years ago, he shared a story about a bike serviceman who always spent the last five minutes of his service or repair job by personalizing the work – attaching a flower to a little girl’s tricycle or adding a bell for a young man’s bike. That story struck a chord with us, and we’ve applied it to client and team member relationships ever since. Getting our work done well and on time matters. But what matters even more is the relationships we form with our clients so we’re even better at the next project we do for them. Take those last five minutes and remember an anniversary, deliver a meal when someone isn’t feeling well, send a hand-written thank you note or volunteer together for a nonprofit organization. Those extra few “minutes” go a long way in building relationships.

  1. LIVE A BLENDED LIFE

We’ve stopped trying to find a work-life balance. It doesn’t exist. The very nature of balance means that two things have to be equal. We know the scales tip to one side or the other all of the time, so we determined that it’s much easier to blend work and life together rather than trying to give the two sides of life equal attention at all times. One of our favorite sayings is, “Your hair grows at work, so go get it cut during work.” It exemplifies the belief we have that by allowing people to blend their personal and professional lives, team members are loyal, work harder and deliver even greater results for our client partners.

We know we’re not perfect. We make our share of mistakes. Yet being intentional about the five principles above certainly makes it easier to make the right decisions and foster a great place to work.


Laura Love launched her public relations agency, GroundFloor Media, in 2001 out of her basement in Boulder, drawing from a background in journalism and extensive experience in media relations. With a focus on hiring senior-level talent who served as strategists and handled tactical execution for clients, GFM's peer-to-peer model still stands today. In 2016, Love co-founded GFM's sister agency, CenterTable, offering social media, digital advertising, website design and development, SEO, video production, creative campaigns and content development.

Ramonna Robinson is the president of GroundFloor Media, focused on innovation, creativity and navigating the unexpected. Since joining the firm in 2005, Robinson has led the integrated teams to secure marquee clients, expanding the service lines and client offerings. Her extensive background across a variety of industries and expertise areas – from sports to government to health care and from crisis communication to social media and strategic communications – brings  a diversity of skills to GFM.

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