Trust and Change: Three Big Lessons From Charting a New Direction

Two years ago today, we announced a big change for MediaStyle: our company’s founder was moving on. This was a huge change. And while it was a bit daunting, it was also time to get to work.

Since then, we’ve done some big and small things to evolve and grow the business. We wanted to share some of the lessons here as we mark this important anniversary.

1. Trust Matters

Change is difficult for everyone, and for us part of that change management was to establish trust with the team. As the new leaders, we needed the team to trust our vision and to trust that we are not going to radically change things. 

We also had to trust each other. The two of us are very different, and each approach issues from opposite ends. But having completely different skill sets is a good thing. 

What we have learned is that while we don’t always agree, we work hard to find common ground, and trust each other to make the right decision. When one of us digs in, the other knows that it is for a good reason. 

In our first year, we made incremental changes, preferring to watch, listen, and ask questions. We also added more voices to the decision-making table so that we hear from our team more often to ensure that they have what they need to do their jobs. 

Lesson: Incremental change and trust helped us get through what could have easily become a rocky period with our team and our clients.

2. Inclusion and Diversity

Sometimes even a communications firm gets language wrong. We have looked at all areas of our business for ways to be more inclusive. One of our key projects was altering our hiring process. As a result, we received applications from a wider range of communities than we traditionally would. Inclusive workforces are stronger and more effective, coming up with a wide range of solutions to issues that don’t lean on the same old ways of thinking and problem solving.

We’ve summarized our lessons learned into a blog, but TLDR: list every job, use inclusive language, post your job outside your usual channels, use a blind hiring process and make sure you aren’t hiring people that have the same interests/educational background/etc.

Lesson: One of our early priorities was to diversify MediaStyle and we continue to work towards building a safe, inclusive, and constructive space that allows everyone to prosper and grow.  

3. Following Our North Star

We’ve always been a business for good and we certified as a B Corp in 2015. This was an important part of our work that we didn’t want to change, but we wanted to build upon.

To celebrate our tenth anniversary, we launched Tenacity, where we supported 10 local charities close to our hearts. We also have recently published our Business for Good report which outlines the past two years of donations and pro bono work we have done as a team to give back.

Looking after our team has always been important to us. That’s why we were also proud to be named a “Best for the World – Employees” for four years running now.

Lesson: Running a business is about learning from your mistakes and growing to ensure you don’t make them again. Business for Good as a mantra helps guide us and we work hard to give back to the communities that trust us with their work. 

Caitlin Kealey is MediaStyle’s CEO. Allyson Chisnall is MediaStyle’s COO and CFO.

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