An unspoken rule in the business world is “never turn away free money.” If someone wants to pay you for your skills, shouldn’t you let them? I was pleasantly surprised in my first few months at Innovatemap to see that, here, we take a very different approach.
Easily my favorite part of work each day is the people I get to spend my time with. My teammates never cease to inspire and amaze me, and it’s an incredible (albeit somewhat daunting!) privilege to be tasked with choosing the partners they’ll share their gifts with. When meeting with prospective clients, we ask ourselves a myriad of questions – do we believe in their company and mission? Will our teams be compatible, in terms of values and working styles? Are we the best partner to actually help them?
Any prospective client meeting with the Innovatemap team can expect to be asked good questions – and lots of them! When we meet with potential partners, we often spend the vast majority of our time discussing their businesses, their needs at the moment, and their future goals. Frequently, our time together will end with us agreeing there’s an opportunity for our team’s impact and we have more to discuss. And yet, for every great match we find, we’ll also vet a prospect who is not a good fit for our work. In these cases, we lead with honesty, part ways, and point the team in the direction we believe is most helpful.
And that, right there, is what drew me to Innovatemap: we aim to help. If a prospect is a great value fit for our team, but they’re not in a place that makes sense for them to work with us yet, we’ll tell them to save their resources. If a potential partner approaches us for work that’s outside of our wheelhouse, we’ll tell them that and point them in the direction of anyone we know who could serve them better. Our team’s candor and compassion are essential for the trust we seek to build – from our prospects, from our clients, and from our own teammates.
We aren’t shy about our selectivity. Our established fit criteria and defined parameters ensure the best outcomes — for us and for our partners. If we agreed to an engagement with a prospect who didn’t meet our fit criteria, the experience would not be on par with the excellence our clients know us for. With relationships at the forefront of everything we do, we understand the value of honesty — even if that means we turn down revenue. Innovatemap’s prospects trust us to guide them to success, whether they become a client or not. And our teammates trust us to match them only with partnerships where they can both grow and succeed.
All that being said, our process is not perfect nor etched in stone. We’re always experimenting with better questions, ideating new ways to help, and asking how our team might enable more companies to achieve their visions. There is nothing more exciting than finding a partner whose dream I believe in and getting to see that dream come to life through the exceptional work of the people who surround me each day. It brings me incredible joy to see each of my teammates get to practice their excellence and to know it was our honesty and diligence in searching for great partnerships that empowered them to put their best foot forward.
The moment that brings me the most fulfillment isn’t when we’ve signed a client, but all of the little moments that follow in the weeks and months thereafter. It’s getting to hear about the day our team was able to bring one of our prospect’s visions to life, and witnessing how we were able to help them achieve their dreams. It’s watching the opportunities these clients bring my teammates — seeing one shine leading her first client engagement, or watching another hone his skills on a particularly challenging business problem.
Innovatemap has given me an extraordinary community of individuals who make me a better person each day. My joy comes from seeing the superpowers of those who surround me and finding a way to share them with those they can help. And, if my role plays even a small part in getting to expand the effects of this community to others, it’s a privilege I’m honored to hold.