Recreating Positive Work Environments
Have you guys had positive work environments? (laughing) What are the kinds of things that you've experienced in other working relationships that you'd like to repeat in your business? Shelly. She's full of 'em, I love it.
So I went from like that really bad boss who was making rules for me to like the best boss I've ever had and I try to emulate all of my management style based on, Jose Arsay at Citibank was amazing. (laughing) And I absolutely adore him and he's become like a mentor of mine. So when I first started, my grandfather got really ill and then passed away and I decided not to go the funeral for whatever reason, but my boss was out of town at a conference and came back and found out that my grandfather had passed away, walked in my office, shut my door and he said whether it's today or tomorrow or next month or a year from now and you need time, just know that we're gonna keep shoveling the shit in your door whether you're here or not, but you need to take the time. So yo...
u just know that you're the priority, not the work. And that was how I started my 10-year relationship with him and it was like amazing and I was like, I think everybody should have that as like their core of like it's really about the person, not about the work and keep them forefront in your mind.
Yeah, what other positive. Mia.
So this is 12 or 15 years ago now and in some ways I feel that having had Adam as a boss back then was a huge reason for me to feel okay actually moving here to the United States 'cause he was from Chicago and he became my boss back in Asia and he was just, even to this day, I would still rank him as my favorite boss because he managed all of us. We had a fairly small team, it was like four or five of us, but he managed to tune in to what each of us needed as a member of the team. So he would lead us accordingly. And right away he saw I was the type of person who liked to do my own thing. Just give me like general guidelines and I'll go, like I'll make it happen and he saw that in me and he trusted me with that. In particular, I was at at a time in my life where I turning, I think was about to turn 30 or so, and I was looking at my body and I was not liking the way it looked 'cause I was having this desk job and I was like I need to start working out and feel better about myself so I went up to him and I said, look I know we work in this like super crazy ad agency for a super big tech client and I don't have time to work out, can I take time out of every work day or during lunch or after lunch and just disappear from my work station? It was kind of a 1.5 ounce cheese type of environment, so asking for that was a huge deal. And he didn't bat an eyelid. He was like go do it, because he knew that if he said yes, I'd be an even more productive employee so it was a total win win. And to this day, it's all these little things that he did and that he was astute enough to know as a leader to lead us all differently and successfully, so I love him for that.
That's amazing. One more, Melissa.
The last time I was a paid employee was when I was 23 years old. I won't tell you how many years ago that was, but it was a lot. And I worked at a nursery school and I was paid peanuts, but not literally, but practically. (laughing) Might as well have been. But it was a wonderful school. It was across the bay in Berkeley and the thing that I remember most clearly was all of the staff, all of the teachers were gathered around in a room and we were given these sheets of paper where there was a limited budget, it's a nursery school, and we had to rank all of the things that we could spend our budget on. All of the teachers and the staff got to rank what we wanted to spend our budget on. As a community, we gathered together to rank this thing versus this thing. A versus B, A versus C, A versus D, A versus E, et cetera, and that was so powerful that we as a community decided together how we were going to spend our limited budget as a school and that has always stuck with me.
Awesome. What I'm hearing in each of those examples is sort of the fundamental intention to care about people. And that might show up in every single business a little bit differently, but that fundamental value of caring about people is a jumping off point for any policy decision, any decision to go against policy and make things up as you go a little bit and I think that that's probably something that we can all get behind. That we wanna make caring about people an important part of hiring people and also about taking care of employee number one as well. And so thinking through what does that look like for you? You may not have the answers to that here today, but that's sort of one of those big picture, long-term questions I want you to be thinking about, is what does caring about the people who are working for you including yourself, mean for the kinds of policy decisions, the kind of systematic procedural decisions you make in your business, because your company culture is fundamentally based on the way you care about the people who work for you. Again, including yourself. And so the difference is between the policy or the management styles, I shouldn't say that. I think the difference is between the rules. Let's say it that way. The difference is between the rules might not be that different. Like you can have a company that cares about 1.5 ounces of cheese, by the way, I love it when there's these metaphors that just emerge. You could have a company that cares about 1.5 ounces of cheese and does it in a caring way and then you can have a company that cares about 1.5 ounces of cheese because it makes them more money. And there's nothing wrong with more money, but we need to bring these two things together. Again, to come back to this like cultural narrative thing, these are the big fears that we have that somehow we're gonna erase everything about the rest of our lives, everything about the rest of our experience, all of our personal values and we're gonna somehow become the 1.5 ounce cheese company that only cares about making one more penny on every dollar. That's not you guys. And so if that is something that every time you feel yourself bumping up against this hiring decision, you just think, oh man, but I don't wanna be like that, I don't wanna recreate that bad experience. Ask yourself how you could do it differently. How you personally are going to do it differently because you're you and you do care about other people in addition to caring about profit. Which leads me to the next question. What do you want working for your company to feel like? What do you want working for your company to feel like? Somebody shout something out.
A party (laughing) Alright, a party.
Empowering. A spa day.
Authentic. Then ask yourself is that what working for yourself feels like? (groan) (laughing) Is that what working for yourself feels like? When we talk about self-employment, I think it's really funny because we don't actually think about the fact that we are literally employing ourselves. It's kind of like, it's self-employment. No, it means you're building a work environment for yourself. You're building a culture for yourself. You're building expectations for yourself. So like, let's take better care of ourselves by creating better work environments, creating stronger systems, creating stronger culture.