Embracing edginess


June 27th, 2010

Next week marks the end of the financial year here in Australia. That means quite a lot of paperwork, taxes to be paid, and a re-setting of the financial clock. And like the end of the calendar year, also marks, for me, a time of reflection. As it also coincides with the coldest and gloomiest part of the year, I am wont to be a bit gloomy myself.

But I must admit, I have little to be gloomy about. Sure, I’ve made less money than usual, but that was planned in a way by deciding to only accept work if it met my criteria. And anyway, Dan Pink’s research shows that we are not motivated by money once we have enough. The work that I have done has been great – challenging at times, edgy, fun, rewarding and when I get to collaborate with friends, enjoyable in a completely different way that I’m excited to repeat. So here’s a special shout out to The Slips.

I guess these criteria reflect my values – not that I really thought of them that way when I wrote them. I’m not really a fan of organisational values, but this post by Leon Gettler has come close to changing my mind. Why? Because the values these companies have come to embrace sound far more authentic than many of the wishy-washy motherhood statements espoused as values (and often immortalised in laminated posters).

For example, here’s Zappos 10 core values:

1. Deliver WOW through service

2. Embrace and drive change

3. Create fun and a little weirdness

4. Be adventurous, creative, and open-minded

5. Pursue growth and learning

6. Build open and honest relationships with communication

7. Build a positive team and family spirit

8. Do more with less

9. Be passionate and determined

10. Be humble

The values of Atlassian, one of Australia’s largest software exporters are bold and in your face.

  • Open company
  • No bullsh.t
  • Build with heart and balance
  • Don’t f..k the customer
  • Play as a team
  • Be the change you seek

And Rentoid, which is trying to build itself into the eBay of renting, has a similar manifesto of values that speak the customer’s language.

Some examples of the company’s values include:

  • Our people work where they please geographically
  • We trust each other; we don’t confuse people with our language
  • We don’t trick people with terms and conditions
  • We speak like people. We are people
  • We answer our phone calls
  • Too much money creates laziness and reduces creativity. We use our brains first and our wallets second
  • For rentoid, and personally; we don’t work with jerks. Even if it could be financially beneficial
  • Fun at work is more important than all things. It is not a corporate event, a team building exercise or a day out

I’d be happy to work for any of these companies – and any others that embrace similar values. And even ones that wish they did. The common element for me is a sense of risk, and fun, of edginess, and of looking forwards, even if we don’t know what’s there, compared with looking longingly backwards at what might have been.

*Raises glass*

To a fun, and edgy year ahead.

PS: Here’s a great post by Chris Ashworth about hiring artists – and why working for love trumps working for money. A story that really embraces all that I’ve been trying to say.

2 Comments so far

  1. Geoff brown on June 28, 2010 10:10 pm

    Nicely said Viv. As I reflect on my recent work, it is the collaborative stuff that counts. I am really excited about working with Euan Semple next week. Also looking forward to bringing some edginess to the day and boldly step into the spaces I fear.

  2. Viv McWaters on July 2, 2010 4:07 pm

    Have fun with Euan next week Geoff – wish I could be there!

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