Is Your Company Culture Ready for 2023?

December 12, 2022 | blog | By Mike Sullivan

One of our favorite sayings regarding company culture comes from an old Chinese Proverb. “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.” No matter how you approach it, building a meaningful company culture takes time, focus, and effort. But most of all, it takes putting a stake in the ground and getting started. Too often, companies view culture as a “nice to have,” or “something we’ll get to.” What those perspectives miss is that every company has a culture whether they know it or not. The question is whether that culture is a good one or a bad one. If you’re not sure which you have, you probably have your answer. The good news? If you’re willing to focus on improving the company culture you have, or building an even better one, here’s everything you need to get started.

25 years and still trying to get better.

When you try to envision what a transcendent company culture might look like for your organization, it can be overwhelming. It’s a bit like trying to decide where to work on your house. So many areas to focus on. So many things to change. Where do you even start?

At The LOOMIS Agency, we’ve spent 25 years building and curating our agency culture. It’s by no means perfect. But we’re proud of the organization we’ve built and the people in it. Being named an Ad Age Small Agency of the year helped us know we were on the right path. So did landing on more than a dozen “Best Places to Work” lists.

Still, I think the one metric we’re most proud of—and the one that most signals our company culture is positive—is that we retain both our clients and our team members at nearly three times the national average.

At a time when the effects of “the Great Resignation” and “quiet quitting” are still reverberating, it’s never been more important to hang on to great people. The number one most important way to do that? Culture. Without question. If that’s something you’re committed to making better, here’s a blueprint you can follow to make 2023 an exceptional year.

Your blueprint for 2023.

If you want to take a deeper dive on building company culture, we wrote a whole book about it a few years ago. For now, here’s what it looks like in a nutshell. At their foundation, great company cultures have seven key elements: Safety, Vulnerability, Purpose, Connection, Belonging, Creativity, and True North Leadership. The following is why those elements are so significant to your organization and a calendar for how you can go about building them over the next 12 months.

January: safety.

Feeling a sense of physical, mental, and emotional safety is one of our most basic requirements as human beings. Cave dwellers understood that. Maslow understood that. And so does every person in your organization. Safety goes beyond the basics of safe working conditions, lit parking lots, and general respect. Whether you’re in the advertising business like we are, or a company searching for innovative, disruptive marketing ideas to challenge convention, that process requires a transcendent company culture—one that encourages trial and error and grants the freedom to fail without the fear of repercussion. Only when people feel safe can they truly focus on what you’re paying them to do. Spend January assessing the physical, mental, and emotional safety in your company and make any necessary changes.

February: vulnerability.

Building on safety, when leadership and employees are allowed to be vulnerable enough to say, “I don’t have all the answers,” and “I need your help,” a powerful shift takes place. Guards come down. Empathy increases. When leading from a place of “me,” shifts to “we,” organizational teams buy in collectively. Not just to the organization’s marketing, but to each other. If ever there was a month to focus on vulnerability and working to grow closer to the people around you, it’s February. Spend the month focusing on being more open, honest, and forgiving and see what happens.

March and April: purpose.

More than ever before, studies show people in today’s companies want to be committed to something bigger than themselves.

Purpose is a beacon that draws extraordinary talent, gives them meaning, and keeps them all moving in the same direction. Of all the elements a transcendent culture comprises, this one may be the most galvanizing.

It’s also the one we overthink the most. We bring in consultants, we go on retreats, and we grind to figure out who it is we’re meant to be. If the goal is to build a lasting, engaging, inspiring company that people want to spend their careers being a part of, what lies at the heart of that for you? What lighthouse beacon of an idea would you be proud to grow your company around? Purpose is all about rallying the troops around the authentic core values you believe in and can deliver. If you’re searching for what that is, or refining your current purpose, it’s worth focusing for 60 days to get it right.

May and June: connection.

Connection isn’t always easy because it’s personal. People are intricate. Feelings are complicated. Life and work are hard to balance. Fostering connection requires intention and constant cultivation from everyone in your organization. But when it’s done well, it’s the one tether that can hold you all together no matter what the world throws at you. Company culture thrives on connection. While it’s crucial to have these seven cultural elements in place, at some point, your team members will run with them. They’ll own them and cultivate them in ways that make sense to them and the relationships they build around them. That’s connection. That’s the intimacy of friendship and camaraderie that every great company culture has. May and June are awesome months to focus on connection. Get everyone out of the office. Find fun occasions to spend time together. Focus on really getting to know each other.

July: belonging.

Along with connection comes the need for belonging. In every aspect of our lives – with our employees, our partners, even our beneficiaries – we all need to feel a sense of belonging. There has to be a sense of trust and a shared vision for what we can accomplish together. That’s not to say there will never be differences of opinion. There will be, and that’s a good thing. Diversity of ideas, perspectives, people, and solutions only makes you stronger. But first, we all desire a genuine sense that we belong. That we’re a valued part of the bigger collective. That the people we trust have our back. As diverse as our country is, every July, we come together on the 4th to celebrate what unites us. Tap into that unifying force in July and make sure every person in your organization feels a strong sense of belonging. If they don’t, find out why and fix it.

August and September: creativity.

People cannot create out of fear. Creativity is the one element of the seven that draws its power from the other six. When people feel connected, safe, and led, when they feel they belong and can take calculated risks in the service of a higher purpose, that’s when ideas and solutions that are unexpected and brilliant show up. Creativity can come from any employee in your organization, no matter their job title. Give your people permission to be creative. Remove the barriers hindering them. And watch as your organization flourishes.

October, November and December: North Star Leadership.

The last of the seven foundational elements required for building a transcendent company culture is North Star Leadership.

There’s a reason it deserves an entire quarter of your focus. North Star Leadership is about understanding the privilege and responsibility you’ve been given as an organizational leader.

It’s about working to develop the clarity of thought and the vision to inspire your team to do what no other company has done before. It’s about building a culture that will not only attract the best talent but keep them for years to come. Here’s the rub – only you can do what it takes to become a person worthy of leading your team, your clients, your partners, and your community. Your colleagues don’t need a manager. They need a beacon of clarity. They need an inspired thinker. They need a champion who can build them up and lead them into the battle to achieve whatever goals the organization has set. Be that, and you’re already ahead. Achieve that in 2023 and you can fasten your seatbelt.

MIKE SULLIVAN is president and CEO at LOOMIS, the country’s leading challenger brand advertising agency and a top Dallas advertising agency for digital, social, mobile and user experience. For more about challenger branding, advertising, and marketing, leadership, culture, and other inspirations that will drive your success, visit our blog BARK! The Voice of the Underdog and catch up on all of our posts.

For more about LOOMIS, or to discuss how we can help your company succeed, CLICK HERE

ad agencyadvertisingadvertising agencybuying into culturechallenger brandchallenger brand marketingchallenger brandingchallenger brandscompany cultureMike SullivanThe Voice of The Underdogtop 10 Dallas Ad Agency

Mike Sullivan

President at LOOMIS, the country’s leading challenger brand advertising agency


We challenge underdog brands to think differently. We help them find their voice, and urge them to blaze new trails to make sure they stand out from the pack. Whether you need an agency of record or support on a project, we are here to help you win.