Next Adventure’s Path to Buy-In

Some retailers just get it. It’s about creating a culture—the kind of atmosphere that employees are proud and excited to support, with products they can stand behind.

One retailer who gets it? Next Adventure. The Portland-based shop is renowned for their lovable staff, and part of what makes them that way is their unerring buy-in. We sat down with Andrew Sullivan and Deek Heykamp to figure out how they do it.
Deek and Brian:  Owners of Next Adventure
 How do you encourage your employees to “buy in” to not just your products, but your entire concept?
Andrew: Nothing moves without buy-in. When you have a winning team, people want to be a part of it. We have built that winning team through communication, accountability and transparency. 
Deek: We have created an inclusive culture which builds a strong community that people want to be a part of.
Andrew: Opportunities for personal and professional growth create a sense of ownership that shows in their dedication to the company. By giving and receiving feedback from all levels, our staff not only feels heard, but they can see the results of their feedback in action. Some specifics are company-wide meetings every month, an open-door policy and open communications about the workings of the company.
How do you receive that same buy-in from customers (through employees)? 
Andrew: Our culture is based on values that ring strongly with the staff, and we make a point to not be driven solely by numbers and sales. When customers walk through our doors and interact with staff members, there’s a genuineness that permeates through excitement and a mission to inform, outfit and excite. This creates the opportunity for us to have deep and authentic connections with customers and invites them to share in our community.
Deek: Because our mission is to inform, outfit, and excite, it’s easy for our staff to buy in to making people happy. Our customers are totally into that!
What intentional moves are you making to increase buy-in?
Deek: The Mann Group has helped to create a company “structure” for our Company Culture.
Andrew Sullivan:  Employee of the Year 
Andrew: As we’ve grown to over 100 employees, communication has become increasingly more challenging while becoming more important than ever. The Mann Group has provided us with communication tools that match the needs of our growing company. Working with Dan and Leslie on our long term strategic planning process has not only provided these tools, but has helped us to clearly define what accountability looks like and how it functions within our company and culture.
After your employees experienced Mann U, how did they seem more invested in the company?
Andrew: When our staff is recognized as a valuable asset, they bring value to our company. 
Deek: In my experience, people are happiest when they feel in control of their life and work situation. By exposing them to Mann U, they have gained tools and understanding for how they can influence and control their personal success and the success of the company.
Andrew: The investment in Mann U is a win-win for our staff and company. Attendees learn valuable skills that play a role in both their personal and professional life, and then, through buy-in and commitment, they put those skills to use creating a stronger community and bringing value to our company.

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