I’m Pressing the Reset Button

Who is old enough to remember the NES and all of it’s quirks. Your game wouldn’t load, so you would pull the game out, blow in the cartridge 3 times, tap it on your knee twice slide it in just past the edge and click it down. You press that power button and then the reset button and, bam, it loads. Maybe you hit that part of the game where you are stuck and you remember back a level where you could have got that tool that could get you past this challenge, you hit that rest button and take a step back, learning from your mistakes.

Life doesn’t have a reset button, but business can.

You can always take a step back and learn something new. A few weeks ago, another evolution of Pixel Labs began. We had an important person to our team leave us while another important person joined us. These events have initiated what I am calling the “Reset Button”. A time to take a half step back and see where we can adjust our workflow, rolls, goals and aspirations for Pixel Labs and our employees to better serve our clients and find more happiness in everything we do from a day to day basis.

On Wednesday, March 28th, I had just returned from a shoot in Ohio. Devin popped into my office at the end of the day to let me know that he had accepted a position at another company. I was bummed. Devin has had a huge impact on the last chapter of Pixel Labs and he brought past experience that no one else on the team possessed. He had helped me become a better manager of people. He helped streamline our workflow. To say he had a place on our team is an understatement. Yes, I was bummed.

Devin’s first shoot as director.

I may have been bummed, but I wasn’t upset.

I was excited. I was proud of him and his pursuit of happiness in the creative field. I was secretly proud of our team as well. It feels pretty good as a company just over 4 years old fostering talent that larger agencies with years of history found valuable. I was also confident in our team and our ability to adjust. We had been working hard to develop the team and this was a chance to see what everyone was capable of.

I headed home for the evening and sat down with my wife, Samantha, who has always been my sounding board for business. She knew the impact that Devin had on the growth of our company so she knew this wouldn’t be a simple transition. We talked about options for a few days, but in the back of my head, I think I knew what my #1 choice was. We had been talking a lot lately about how much our office could use some general support and organization beyond the production. Things that were HR and bookkeeping related. Things that keeps the office vibe high and everything humming. Things that to an extent require a dedicated person.

For over 11 1/2 years now, Samantha had been at a secure job at the University. A job that was full of benefits including health insurance and vacation pay. Her job has provided a sense of stability in our life when things seems uncertain with Pixel Labs. It was a risk to give that all up, and a risk-taker is not an adjective that would describe my wife. We discussed it almost every minute we were together for the next 2 or 3 days. We weighed the pros and cons of every option. That week, we made the decision that she would leave the security of her current job and come on at Pixel Labs full time. Her first day of her new job would be our first day without Devin. The timing couldn’t have been better.

Along with the addition of Samantha to our team, I met with the rest of the team. Some in the office, some on car rides, others on flights to shoots. I spent the next few weeks learning more about the team and each person’s aspirations and interests. These are things that I had a pretty good handle on already, but this time allowed me to pay a little closer attention and dig a little bit deeper into what each one was looking for in their role at Pixel Labs. This was a crucial part to our reset. I learned more about where each person felt they could be the most valuable in the Pixel Labs team. I found out about skills I was unaware of. I found out that we had not been running at the most efficient levels because not everyone was working towards their goals.

“It’s important when building a team that you provide the tools and opportunities for everyone to grow and feel excited to come in to the office each and every day.”

This really isn’t an option. If you choose to do this, one of 2 things will happen. You will either build a valuable asset that will stick with you for the long haul and have a huge impact on what your company can become, OR, they will leave and move on to bigger things. Neither one of these outcomes are bad. As a business owner, you should always be concerned with your employees future goals and help them achieve them no matter what. It’s a big part in a successful culture. The other option, limit them and think you are creating some kind of “job leash” so as to keep them with your organization because you have not fostered and helped build any valuable skills outside of the ones you require from them to do the job for YOU. I can promise you this. If you go with Option 2, they will most definitely become bored, uninspired and frustrated with the job and they will begin looking for companies that can support them in ways that you are not.

Notice how I said “in ways you ARE not” rather than “ CAN not”.

I say that because it is not a matter of being able to support your employees or not, it is simply a decision to invest the time (and sometimes money) in the people that have been there for you helping you build your business. Quite honestly, it’s the least that you owe them for their time. Some of you are probably thinking though “What about that one that slacks off and hardly gets the bare minimum done? Why should I worry about their goals, they don’t care about the job they have to do.” My answer to you would be, “What could YOU be doing differently to motivate them better?” and in the case that they are truly lazy and unmotivated, because that does happen, “Why are they still employed?”. This is your business and for better or worse, good or bad, whatever happens within it, it is your fault. Make the changes that are best for you, your employees and ultimately, your business.

So 3 weeks after we pressed that reset button we have hired Samantha full time, Cole part time, redefined everyone’s roles, launched a new project manager to get better organized and already began seeing the beginning of the next chapter unfold. I can not thank Devin enough for the time, energy, passion and work that he put in with our team to get it where it is. But beyond that, I am forever grateful for the incredible team that we still have, without my amazing wife,Samantha, Kyle, Jared, Alen, Cole, Reese, our interns and any freelancer we work with, Pixel Labs wouldn’t be where it is. A business truly is only as good as the employees that power it and Pixel Labs has one of the best around. These guys have such a wide range of talents, skills and creativity and they all work together to produce the best content and strategies for our clients. The friendships I see form, the skills I see develop, the talent that our team fosters, it is all so inspiring and I am very fortunate to say that it is all happening under our roof. Under the Pixel Labs roof.

“A business truly is only as good as the employees…”
2017 UNI Dance Marathon
💥 Employee Happiness Comes First

If you ever have the opportunity to start a business or manage people, be sure that your people’s happiness comes before all else and you do everything within your power to help them grow as professionals. This is true for any industry so there are no excuses not to do it. If you want to know more specifically how we do it, DM me or shoot me an email (zach@thepixellab.co). I want every business owner to have the same family at the office that I have. It makes coming to the office every day never feel like work and always makes life at home with my other family that much better. So I challenge you now, take the time to schedule a 15 minute meeting (longer if you need) with every one of your employees and make sure they are on the path to success, whether it is with your company or driving towards another goal. Either way, it’s the right move and everyone will benefit from it, including your business.

🙏 Thank you so much for your attention. I don’t write often, but I have enough people mention the posts that I am will continue to work on improving the frequency of the posts.

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