Winning a “Company of the Year” International Business Award is no joke – The Stevie awards receive more than 12,000 nominations each year from organizations in 65 nations. So humor me as I take a minute to look back at our journey from a dream to the proud winner of a Company of the Year Award.
On the surface, the story sounds like a far-away dream. An immigrant woman of colour, starts a company alone, on sheer conviction of her ideas, and is joined slowly by people with similar mindsets each coming with a burning desire to build something valuable online. The team we have built has a unified goal, to bring high-quality learning science to everyday work, with a core focus of timeless values of customer-centricity. But as most things, the reality is a bit more layered, a bit more nuanced, and a lot more fun!
There are many things I have learned in these years of building Artha, and in this blog post, I want to discuss three of them in hopes that they may be of some value to you.
Short-term gains are for short-sighted people. When you are playing the long game, think long-term. This changes one’s perspective in all aspects of the business – from hiring key people and building your A team, to managing change requests with clients. Every product that Artha sends out, is a reflection of our belief in thinking beyond the immediate deliverable. When the learner progresses through a learning experience designed by Artha, they think “Hmm, this is nice” and that positive response is important in the long term. It is imperative for us to change how learners think about learning online, and we take our role in that very seriously.
At Artha, we have always kept our values front and center. Revenue goals and profits are a side effect of our values – working hard and staying true to our purpose. Our values are reflected in our name – Artha, which means “Meaning, Essence, Purpose”. The learning strategy and experiences we build are flush with meaning for our learners. They are designed to help them, and work for them. We support our clients with edits and fixes after our contract is over, we help them make the best use of their training dollars, we adapt and change as the needs of our clients change. But most importantly, we keep the learner experience as our touchstone in all we do.
I can not be any prouder of our team. As most creative agencies, our team is a core+flex model of full-time and part-time employees. And everyone is very precious to us. Small as we are, we try to take good care of our people – whether it is good health benefits, flexible work hours, opportunities for learning and growth or co-creating a happy, inclusive place to bring your best to. Even as some members of our team move on past Artha Learning, they choose to remain a part of our family and why not? After all, it is all about people, relationships and belonging.
Sometimes it may seem okay to cut some corners, to choose the path with less resistance, or to take the easy way out. There are countless instances that come to my mind where this route would have been more appealing and maybe even the more practical choice for us. That is what most firms would have done… but then, most firms do not win the “Company of the Year” international award in the first five years of their existence.