An Open Letter from Gary Solomon, Jr.

In 2009, Solomon Group proudly opened its doors in the cultural wealth spring that is New Orleans; the proud home of Mardi Gras, the best jazz music in the world, some of the most unforgettable culinary dishes on the planet, and the original melting pot of the United States. That first year our motley group of intrepid artists and technicians successfully fabricated our first museum exhibit and produced our first concert. It was glorious and we celebrated heartedly.

Over the past decade, we have developed it to a live experience studio full of artists, designers, craftsmen, strategists, and innovators who have produced literally thousands of events and exhibits, featuring the biggest talent, in some of the world’s most prestigious venues. Our clients are now the world’s largest brands, innovative live events and most respected museums and institutions. We are truly proud of the company that we have become and the work that we have achieved.

However, in an industry as competitive as ours, we recognize that the access to and mastery of technology can only provide a marginal advantage over competition. Here at Solomon Group, we believe that the biggest differentiator is actually our company culture.

We define “Company Culture” as:

A set of shared values, goals, attitudes and practices that characterize our organization; a shared ethos. It is the way we feel about the work we do, the values we believe in, where we see the company going and what we are doing to get it there.

We understand the true importance of having a unique and authentic company culture to set us apart from the rest. As Founder and President, one of the most important things I can do for the company is clearly articulate our company culture and provide the values upon which that culture is built.

I will admit however that thirteen years ago, when Solomon Group began, creating a defined “company culture” was not something we were intentional about. It was literally never discussed and yet a supportive and electric company culture blossomed organically. In our decade long history, the glory days of our company culture all lie at the beginning. Without intentionally meaning to, we built a company filled with people that rallied through the night, willingly lending a hand to their fellow teammates, and proudly putting on glorious spectacles in the face of tremendous adversity. The first years of Solomon Group are filled with enthusiastic war stories of camaraderie, teamwork, and humor.

But as the company grew, this natural yet accidental culture began to erode. As the size of our company swelled, along with our project scopes and responsibilities, our tight knit teams were harder and harder to maintain. Executing the work at all costs became the company’s primary initiative and the culture of camaraderie and teamwork deteriorated as a result. Precisely because of that inattention, in a matter of years, Solomon Group’s company culture swung from its highest to its lowest, enduring a multi-year period of satisfaction, retention and performance issues. Then, three years ago, after much self-analysis, we launched a culture initiative to combat our slumping morale. That initiative served its purpose and got us to this moment. The intentional development and implementation of the company culture, articulated through the five values in this document, is our next cultural evolution and our commitment to make strides in a new direction.

The five values described below are the guiding concepts that provide context to the endless decisions we are all faced with in our unique roles. They are not just words printed on mouse pads and t-shirts, but clear directions to positively influence every daily decision and interaction in the company moving forward. These virtues are guiding principles for independent, yet company aligned decision making. We could not possibly list all of the decisions that each team members will be faced with - it would be an endless and incomplete list - so instead we provide these five values which act as independent decision-making tools.

So, what are the five values that provide our company with its guiding light?

Client obsessed.

We know our clients personally, learning their culture and their business drivers, so that we can better serve them. We seek every opportunity to deliver that little something extra to surprise and delight them.

  • We are relentlessly committed to the best outcomes for our clients.
  • We speak honestly with our clients, unafraid to challenge them.
  • We are bespoke and uniquely tailor our approach for each client.
  • We are uniquely New Orleanian and treat our clients with southern hospitality, warmth and respect.
  • We go the extra mile to ensure each client’s experience is exceptional.

Undaunted by the unprecedented.

We love a good challenge. Thanks to our ingenuity, grit and resilience, even the seemingly impossible is made possible. Our natural impulse is to say “yes” because we whole heartedly believe in our ability to solve any challenge.

  • We have an unusual appetite for risk.
  • We believe in our team members.
  • We are fascinated by innovation, not intimidated by it.
  • We are confident, but not cocky.
  • We know the discipline of following and believing in our processes counterintuitively makes room for creative freedom.

Brave bias to action.

When we see something, we do something. We consider ourselves responsible not only for the tasks that we directly control, but for all that affect the success of the collective mission. Doing anything, regardless of the outcome, is preferred to doing nothing at all.

  • We willingly help those who need us.
  • We proactively seek out missing information.
  • We take every step possible to reduce surprises.
  • We support team members who dive in to help us.
  • We relentlessly pursue efficiencies, burden reduction, and opportunities to save money.

Win together.

All clients, vendors, subcontractors, suppliers, and staff are our team members. We are united by a shared vision and a singular destination, which is a positive and life changing experience for the audience.

  • We actively work to contribute to the success of others.
  • We create personal bonds with all team members.
  • We are authentically ourselves.
  • We actively pursue opportunities to collaborate.
  • We publicly recognize achievements in ways that make success contagious.

A little better all the time.

We fearlessly embrace change and are dedicated to a culture of learning. We actively solicit feedback from clients, co-workers, vendors and partners in order to constantly update and integrate newer better practices.

  • We actively seek feedback and relentlessly pursue improvement.
  • We embrace change.
  • We live a culture of learning and sharing what we have learned.
  • We believe in a shared moral imperative to overcome systemic equity barriers.
  • We are committed to improving in our place of work, our industry, and the world.

This is what Solomon Group believes in and stands for today. This is who we are. The guidance of these values actively fosters a company culture which is proud yet humble, wise yet curious and independent yet collaborative. Each Solomon Group team member is directed and empowered to use these values to steer their daily decision making. These virtues actively cultivate a work culture which fosters bravery, ingenuity, and generosity.

As Solomon Group evolves, pursuing and accomplishing our next goals, always striving for the next great achievement, so too must this document. In keeping with virtue number five, “A little better all the time”, this document is live and iterative and will be rewritten time and time again, to always remain relevant and cast light on the best path forward. Like the paramount foundational documents of any thoughtful government, this “Culture Letter” clearly defines Solomon Group’s values, upon which its culture is built, yet it also has the flexibility to change with the times. Each and every team member is not just encouraged but responsible for keeping this document up to date, relevant and challenging.

Let’s inspire everyone, together.

Gary Solomon, Jr.

Co - Founder & CEO