Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.
It’s been over 3 years since Rob and I started Origin, and one of our greatest strengths has been a strong bias towards action – we’re incredibly motivated to find challenging problems and jump right in to try and solve them. We like to just get on with things. We have consciously avoided the kind of introspection beloved of many startups, choosing instead to focus on our clients and how we can answer their needs.
But as we’ve grown, (both externally in the market and internally in our team), we’ve realised that it’s important to take a step back and reflect on what we’ve achieved, and what we want to achieve as we move forward. So we decided to host a company offsite to do just that.
Sure, it was a good excuse to take a break from the office and hang out with the team in a fun environment. But it was also a chance to gain some perspective by learning how our friends and colleagues view the business they have worked so hard to help build.
“Values” can seem like a trite word. But when a group of people work well together, it’s clear that there are some fundamental unifying themes that help them stay in synch. Ray Dalio calls it playing “beautiful jazz together.” Although we are generally more outward looking than inward looking, I think we’ve done a decent job of implicitly building a company with a strong culture and values. We feel this is really important. The offsite provided the perfect opportunity to get everyone around a table so that we could make our values a bit more explicit. By doing this collectively, we ensure everyone buys into a shared vision for the company.
To go about creating them, we took inspiration from another startup, Buffer. The first step is the most eye-opening, where each team member independently writes down 3 words that describe the culture today, and 3 words that describe the ideal culture in the future. Sticking 70+ post-its on a wall and seeing them all describe the same few major themes was inspiring. It was great validation that the implicit cohesion that we thought we had as a team was really there, written in black and white. The next day, we just needed to reflect on the salient themes, discuss them in more depth, and polish them up into the final result you see below.
I hope you enjoy learning about what makes us tick, and for those of you who know us well, I hope they resonate with what you know about us.
Dare to be brave.
We relish being outside of our comfort zone and facing challenges that seem impossible. We are confident that if we are always learning, and we never give up, we can achieve anything.
Incredible things happen when people are empowered.
We are a team of entrepreneurs, and we thrive when given ownership, responsibility, and freedom. We enjoy forging into the unknown and creating order within chaos. Each of us has the power to do so, no matter our age or experience.
Systematically seek, and be transparent with, the truth.
We are constantly listening and observing to better understand our world, our clients, and ourselves. We are humble about what we don’t know, but we trust that if we are relentless in discovering new information, systematic about evaluating it, and transparent in sharing it, we will succeed.
Work is more than a job, and we are more than colleagues.
We have a choice in our careers, and believe work should be challenging, rewarding and fun. We seek to surround ourselves with good people, who pursue diversity of thought and experience, but do not compromise on honesty and integrity. We believe that nothing is more valuable than having meaningful interactions and meaningful relationships with the people in our lives.