Week of April 5th, 2021

The most important thing I did for this week, was on Thursday, I had a business course through the Disney Institute to work on improving my leadership skills, especially as this company has grown, changed, and survived so many hurdles, that I realized I needed help to learn how to handle them better.

What's good for any business to have, are core values. And it's kind of obvious to state that, but it took me nearly 9 years to realize that we needed to make it clear what they are, so we have blueprints to follow, and make sure none of us stray. 

While other students critiqued companies could use "values" as a way to promote themselves, and then not follow them, Disney gave us dozens of words and phrases to pick from, choose four, and explain how those values are relevant to us, as leaders.

Here are Zen Monkey Studios', and my own, four core values.

Flexibility: I find it very important to be able to pivot or change something that isn’t working, to help growth. Sometimes to just let something happen, and learn from it, rather than be afraid, and prevent ourselves from trying. If money and fear are the only things from stopping us from doing something, to perhaps reconsider.

Creativity: Coming up with originality to help the company have a unique, original voice. And this is extra important with a crowded licensed industry. We're not the only people making pins, let alone licensed pins. And same for when we made shirts and other products. One of the ways we are able to differentiate ourselves is to focus on our creativity.

Empathy: Being able to understand where the other employees are coming from, as well as clients and customers, helps. Another thing that helps stand out in a crowded industry, is premium customer service. I think by me being more candid to all of you, both through things like these blog posts, and through interaction on social media, helps us not only stand out, but come on, I'm not waking up with the intent to make someone mad. There's enough of that out there. As for James and Marc, helping customers with a lost order, or something we screwed up with, or even just giving someone a bonus pin because they said something that motivated James to add it---Helps all of us, you know?

Openness: There is an importance of accepting ideas, input, and critique from others, as others might have solutions for growth, and improve happiness, to everyone involved. Even though I'm the owner that oversees all the day-to-day, and well, almost everything regarding the company, I don't know everything, and I never will. I try to hire people that are better at me with the things they'd be doing. And everyone has a creative spark. So being open-minded lets me learn, and let's others' voices be heard.

So when Zen Monkey strays from one of those four values, we're straying from what we recognize as the four most important things that make up our company.

And that's *insert Sonic cartoon meme* "No good!"

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