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Last week Modea was honored with the Best Agency Culture Award by AdAge for the 2011 Small Agency Awards. Before we started Modea five years ago, Aaron and I weren’t naïve to the challenges of starting an agency in Blacksburg, Virginia. But we thought that if we could do it, we’d have something truly unique.

We are literally the only agency in town. That means people have to consider whether Modea is where they want to go, not for 18 months, but for years. You know, just like how people did it back in the 1900s. Although this sets the hurdle higher, the result is that our people bring a deeper commitment to Modea.

Recognizing and rewarding this commitment is a key part of our philosophy. AdAge cited our career development program where managers sit down with their team members and discuss where they want to go in their career. They put together actionable plans and meet every few months. Twenty-five percent of bonuses are tied directly to the progress people make on the goals they set. We have found that people thrive when their interests are aligned and their goals are mutually created.

Agency founders and management can’t dictate corporate culture. By definition, culture is the collection of ideas, customs, and social behavior of a particular group of people. We have recognized this since our inception and handpicked people we feel share our desire to create a true team-orientation. Sure, sometimes we have to do some editing when certain behavior sets in, but that’s part of our natural evolution.

I’m frequently asked if we are going to continue to grow as fast as we have in the past. We will only grow as fast as we can find amazing people who want to do exceptional work and call a small college town like Blacksburg their home for many years to come. Know anyone?

Read More:
AdAge Article on 2011 Small Agency Awards
Modea Press Release