As our business grows it’s been important for us to define what we value. Below are the 10 core values that we live by which help to define our brand, strategy and business culture.
1. Speak ‘human’
We avoid using ‘professionalese’, the impersonal, distant and vague language that tends to dominate most business communication, and instead we try to speak ‘human’. As Dan Pink suggests, think about that all-too-common phrase: “We apologise for any inconvenience this might have caused.” Would you say that to your daughter when you were late picking her up from football practice? To your neighbour when your dog trampled his flowerbed?
Relationships (whether in business or at home) depend on trust. And trust depends on openness, respect and humanity. So, cut out the ‘professionalese’ and don’t say anything to your boss, your staff, your teammate, your supplier or your customer that you wouldn’t say to your spouse or your friend.
Some more inspiration:
- Dan Pink, ‘My challenge to you: only speak like a human at work’, The Telegraph, 18 July 2010
- Jason Fried, ‘How to Turn Disaster Into Gold’, Inc, 1 Feb 2011
- Jason Fried, ‘Rework’
2. Ship it
Shipping is all about getting stuff out the door. It’s about exposing your work to others and to the world. It’s about pressing ‘send’, going live, publishing. It’s about finishing and delivering and crossing things off the to-do list.
We know that shipping can be scary. To borrow some words from Seth Godin, “Shipping is fraught with risk and danger. Every time you raise your hand, send an email, launch a product or make a suggestion, you’re exposing yourself to criticism. Not just criticism, but the negative consequences that come with wasting money, annoying someone in power or making a fool of yourself.”
But to hide in the corner or to keep pushing out timeframes in the search for perfection, means that you will never ship. And you can’t succeed without shipping.
Celebrate when you ship and when others around you ship. Cross it off the to-do list, blog/tweet about it, have a drink, throw a party!
Some more inspiration:
- Seth Godin is the shipping guru. His posts are inspirational and thought-provoking. In place of all the explanatory text above we really could have just written ‘what Seth says’. If you don’t already read his blog – subscribe now! Some good posts to start with are ‘But what have shipped?’, ‘Fear of shipping’, and ‘The truth about shipping’.
- Scott Belsky (Behance), ‘Surround Yourself With Progress’. We love the idea of the ‘done wall’!
3. Ask ‘what else can I do?’
We should be asking ourselves this question regularly. Solve a tricky technical problem? What about sharing the solution with your colleagues, or better yet blogging about it or adding the solution to a forum (see value 9)? Know that your colleague has a number of tight deadlines to meet? Can you help them out with some of the workload, or simply by grabbing them a coffee? Got a client that is confused or frustrated? What about sending them a link to a useful article or video clip, or offer to walk them through a solution one-on-one?
Asking ‘what else can I do?’ is about helping your clients and colleagues to solve their problems, and also about looking for ways to contribute your solutions, skills and knowledge beyond the immediate task.
4. Be curious
Were you the kind of kid who was always taking toys apart, annoying your parents and teachers by constantly asking ‘but why?’, or dropping things (including younger siblings) from high places just to see what happened?
Taking things at face-value is not enough – you want to know how and why things are the way they are. You’re the kind of person who’s frequently Googling or using Wikipeadia to find out a bit more about a topic that’s caught your attention. You love to learn new facts, skills, techniques and actively seek out the experiences, opportunities, resources and people that help you learn.
5. Take pride
We want you to be proud to tell others about the company you work for and the colleagues and clients you work with. The work you produce has your name against it. And you, and the company you work for, are always being judged by others (whether you like it or not) through every interaction you have and each product you ship. Create stuff that you’re proud to have your name on.
6. Be a team player
Being a team player is more than just being able to work in a team and playing nicely with others. It’s about realising the potential achievements of a team are much greater than a collection of individuals. Think about a soccer team or an orchestra. While there may be star players from time to time – success is only possible when each person contributes their skills and talents, and when they create the space and encourage their teammates to do the same. Research has also shown that when employees focus on how their efforts affect other people their sense of relationship boosts both their satisfaction and productivity [Rapt, Winifred Gallagher]
We get a real buzz from genuine collaboration, where new ideas are generated through combining and building on individual ideas.
7. Be healthy
Looking after your physical and mental health makes you happier, more productive, and more fun to be around! We’re not crazy health nuts but we believe in the benefits of regular exercise, decent sleep and a balanced diet. We support each other in achieving health and fitness goals and, as a company, seek out ways to promote healthy activities in our workplace and work practices.
8. Create fun
Between deadlines, demanding clients, and tricky technical problems, work can often get quite serious. So, when there’s the opportunity to lighten the mood a little through a bit of fun and silliness we like to take it.
We work in an industry and an era where we get much of our inspiration, new knowledge, and answers to our questions through other people generously sharing their ideas, knowledge and resources – through podcasts, presentations, articles, blog posts, and contributions to forums. Find ways to give back and to share what you know with your colleagues and with the community.
10. Keep it simple
We believe that simplicity is beautiful. But we know that simple isn’t always easy. As Albert Einstein famously said “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex… It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.”