Leading by Example: Lessons from an Office Dog

5 minute read

BSTRO is 20! Over those 20 years, hundreds of dynamic companies have given us their trust and their work, from big brands like Johnson’s Baby, Bandaid, and AT&T to startups like Roku, Eaze, and Illumio that went on to become big brands. We’ve worked with entrepreneurs, non-profits, and nearly every type of company in between. In 20 years, we went from one woman working at her kitchen table, to one of the top digital agencies in San Francisco, Vancouver, and New York. What’s our secret? Well, we had something special.

We had Sydney: office dog extraordinaire, and the wisest, laziest member of the BSTRO team.

You might think Syd knew nothing about digital marketing and wasn’t really an employee. Well, you’d be right. Syd couldn’t handle your social media outreach.

But Sydney was with BSTRO since the beginning. And she led by example. Here are some of the things we keep closest to our hearts.

Choose joy

One of BSTRO’s mantras is to choose joy. Like Marie Kondo, if it doesn’t bring us joy, it has to go. That’s sometimes hard for humans like us. For Sydney, it was effortless. Sydney did what she wanted, when she wanted, and didn’t waste her time on things that didn’t make her happy. Let’s honor her memory and be more like Sydney. Choose joy.

Be consistent

Sydney spent pretty much every day exactly where you would expect her to be. Curled up on her panda bed. She’s was happy there, and showed up every single day, commanding her position. Syd was consistent, and consistency is key in an agency environment. The world is going to change around you every single day. You can’t control that. But you can bring stability and calm. Be the constant.

Be discerning

When Syd was a puppy, she enthusiastically welcomed everyone who came to the office. She didn’t discriminate, thrilled as she was to get any attention. However, as she grew older, she became more discerning about where she directed her energy. In a similar vein, as we’ve matured, we’ve learned from Syd’s example. We no longer rush to accept every opportunity that comes our way. It takes discipline and experience to choose wisely where to invest our love, time, and attention. But it’s worth it. Selecting the right opportunities brings a deeper sense of fulfillment and satisfaction.

Be straightforward

Syd asked for what she wanted. She never expected people to read her mind; she wasn’t subtle and didn’t dance around an issue. When she was hungry, she’d march over to her food bowl, and scratch until someone filled it up. When she needed to go out, she stood in front of the door. Following in her tiny, direct footsteps, we strive for clarity in asking for what we need from ourselves, our teammates, and our clients..

Embrace change

Sydney underwent startling transformations from a little Ewok to resembling an adorable baby deer about every six months. A good trim can change everything. The same is true for copy, design, and processes: don’t be afraid of gratuitous edits, trimming, and throwing away what’s not working. Change can pave the way for better things, so don’t get too attached. Embrace the change.

Focus on now

Syd had #noregrets. Sure, sometimes she peed on the floor, and that’s was a little gross, but you wouldn’t see her brooding about it later filled with angst and self-doubt. Sometimes people – and dogs – make mistakes. As long as your intentions are earnest and you learn something from it, there’s no need to waste time living in the past. When you do, you miss out on all the ‘now’ that’s happening all around you.

Do what you’re good at

Sydney’s office duties were simple: sleep, eat, and wander around. If Sydney were human, she might have been tempted to obsess over a million things at once. But Sydney was a dog. She excelled at sleeping, eating, and wandering around, and she didn’t need to do anything else. At BSTRO, we like to keep a similar focus. We know where we excel: helping our clients look better, sound better, and sell more online. While flights of fancy can be exciting, people hire us for what we’re good at. Let’s play to our strengths.

Show your appreciation

Syd showed her appreciation generously. Really, this is a dog thing in general. The baseline for receiving immense amounts of affection from a dog is feeding them, taking them for walks, and giving them occasional belly rubs. It’s not that complicated, and being on the receiving end of unbridled gratitude makes a person feel good. Genuine thank-yous feed the circle of kindness.

Love being needed

Here’s something we’re all guilty of from time to time – feeling thankful and excited for work, all day, every day. We’re only human, after all. Humans get tired and grouchy. Sometimes when a new urgent task comes in at 4:50pm, it can be hard to hold back a groan. But beneath the surface, that new task is a blessing, because it means someone needs help and chose to call on you. If you’re not needed, you probably won’t have a job for long. Sydney was always excited to come to work, and we strive to follow her example. After all, we get to spend our days creatively problem-solving with smart people who approach work with curiosity, joy, and often, great humor. We believe our clients and co-workers become more successful because they feel how much we love being in it with them.

Okay, you caught us. This whole article was just an excuse to reminisce about Sydney. We apologize for nothing. She was adorable, right? While you can’t find her guarding the office anymore, you can still schedule a consultation with BSTRO and experience the same level of warmth and expertise she brought to our team. It’s a win-win for you.

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