Dale Bornstein
CEO
M Booth

By Dale Bornstein, CEO, M Booth

At M Booth, we believe that culture is everything; we strive every day to create a people-first culture; and a nurturing, inclusive and progressive workplace.  Our mantra is Be Inspired, and we work to live it every single day.  We are passionate about culture because we are passionate about our people.  And you can’t fake passion. We let our people be who they are. Everyone has to sign on to the values and the way we work together, but it’s not about conforming.  We don’t talk about culture fit, rather it’s culture-add.

As a leader, I believe that fostering employee passions is how you get teams to deliver great work.  People who lead inspired lives do inspired work.  One of the programs we have instituted is our Be Inspired-ships program.  It’s important to have a bucket list, even if you have a saltine budget and caviar dreams! Our program funds passion projects to let our people get out in the world and have fun, have an adventure, take risks, taste failure, and then bring that experience, that pursuit of passion back to the agency to inspire others.

It’s not always easy but we aim to balance our people-first approach with the real business needs of our agency. The first thing to remember is that the only asset an agency has is its people, so you have to make sure they are nourished in order to thrive. Your people can’t do their best work sitting inside all the time.  They need to get out and follow their passions.

If we’re going to help you follow as many passions of your own as we can, then there is a mutual contract that says you have to chip in where you’re needed.  It’s about helping people understand the value of the experience they are having, no matter what it is, and the impact they can have for the client and the agency as a result of these experiences. Helping them be “in it to win it” helps to build a passion for great work.

Every agency has to be true to itself — again, you can’t fake passion.  We have open doors; we try hard to make sure our people know we are working to be active listeners.  Having great emotional intelligence (EQ) is important, and we have that baked into our DNA.  Leading by example and role modeling, along with specific programs to help managers pay attention to EQ definitely help. We celebrate people with high EQ at M Booth.

In the PR industry, we have “all-in” careers, so we have to take care of ourselves. How do we make sure that the time we spend at work doesn’t come at a cost to ourselves — our health and happiness?  I do it by surrounding myself with people who are better than I am and hiring the very best talent I can.  Taking care of yourself is a mindset. It is the mindset of knowing that you are in it for the long haul, and though there may be days when you can’t take care of yourself, on those days that you can, you have to go all in to nourish yourself.

This blog is part of “Agencies of the Future,” the PR Council’s initiative to help Members future-proof and grow their agencies. It was also recorded as an episode on the Agencies in the Future podcast. Listen to it here.

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