For those of you who know me (or those of you who have read my bio), I was in the consulting world for over a decade before founding Full Circle Insights with Bonnie, Andrea, and Dan. During those years I had many occasions to be grateful that I was the consultant and not the employee, as I realized many of the individuals I worked with were unhappy with their work environments. In fact, my biggest concern in founding Full Circle Insights wasn’t whether we would succeed – I knew we had a great product and shared values around delivering quality, truth in the data, and service – but would we be able to do so and build a company culture that would enable us, as individuals, to thrive, have fun, and keep life balance?
I read Tony Hsieh’s book ‘Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose’, visited the Zappos offices in Las Vegas, and saw truth in the idea that culture is a key component in any company’s success. Furthermore building that culture had to be intentional, and at Full Circle – our culture is a key part of our conversation as we grow.
In the beginning it was just the four of us – and at the first meeting everyone caved to my condition that our offices be dog friendly (after all, how could I leave my shadow?). I think it was the next meeting where we decided to standardize on See’s Chocolates for gift giving. We worked on our core values from the very beginning, which we iterate on each year and reference often, both in product development efforts and in our sales and customer interactions.
“Truth” is one of the top values – truth in how we represent our product, truth in the data we generate, and truth in how we communicate with each other. “Balance” is another one – it’s important that we find ways to maintain life balance – we don’t want work to be all consuming. The second is a much harder value to attain – and part of doing so is to make sure that even in our work environment we have a balance of professionalism, fun, and camaraderie.
To that end we are, in small ways, intentionally building our culture:
We instituted mandatory bantering on certain internal email exchanges – no one has yet to take the bantering ‘walk of shame’ – and we’ve learned that we’re all charmingly witty.
We use GoToMeeting™ for some team meetings – and sometimes people have been known to sign in using ‘creative’ names such as “Zombie Master” or “Quasimodo” – Worth a chuckle!
We are moving into new offices in San Mateo (stand by for the open house!). They are nice offices – so we had to have a cow teapot just because it was so ridiculous it counter balanced the nice with a bit of tacky fun. When you come to a meeting make sure it’s on the board room table!
Board rooms? We have two and we’ve named them ‘Oh No You Didn’t!” and “Oh Yes You Did!”. Sales is going to use ‘Oh Yes You Did!’ – because they want positive outcomes. 😉
We are getting a hat rack – we wear so many hats since we’re a startup we thought it would be fun to literally wear many hats. First purchase was a bunch of Zombie caps for the development team to wear after a product launch (and an honorary one for Jay – our Corporate Accounts Manager – who managed to postpone a meeting one day when we were all tired – thanks Jay!). I’m actively looking for fun hats! What does a visitor hat look like anyway? 😉
A couple of ideas got nixed – like the wall-to-wall mural of a star wars/middle earth scene with Tinkerbell and unicorns doing the Waltz, or the handy closet for business attire quick changes (still working on that one), but it looks like the Wii will get a home.
And dogs! Teddy (my dog) and Harry (Sue’s dog) will be regulars at the office – so if you need some puppy love – come on over (but we won’t be able to change into fancy business clothing to greet you because we don’t have the closet…. Yet).
One small step at a time – and we’re always looking for ideas – so feel welcome to tell us fun things you do at your office.