Our Way and Mind - Our Business Culture

Our culture is our brand. Our culture is an output, not an input. A firm cannot choose its culture, it has exactly the culture it deserves.

  1. Race is an inter-connected, living network, steered by market forces. Nobody is in control. Everybody is in charge.
  2. Who's driving the bus? We're driving the bus. In the {Cause Ω Effect} equation, we're on the Cause side. We produce results, we don't find reasons to explain why we don't deliver.
  3. Do or Do not; there is no try.
  4. Not "Do-to", but "Do-with".
  5. As designers we naturally are positioned as people-centric, not as technology-centric.
  6. We think differently, act differently, and embrace uncertainty. We lose 100% of the shots we don't take.
  7. We like to experiment on the periphery of our market and the related industries. Often the disruption comes from a player outside the industry; a guest in the party that is a foreigner (and always he leaves the party with the most beautiful girl...) We look behind the corners; peripheral vision matters a lot!
  8. We are continuously seeking for amazing leadership. A leader does not lead towards the place the people want to go, but towards the place, people should be. This requires character. Character eats talent for breakfast.
  9. For a business leader, the right answer to the question "What is the single most important thing you do at work?" is hiring.
  10. Debt is like red wine; too much of it ...
  11. Our purpose is not to minimize costs, but to maximize throughput. Organizations that follow a Cost Model, do not consider for each cost element, its dependency to throughput. Throughput is the value of the services we deliver minus the direct cost of services paid to outside subcontractors.
  12. Value creation alone is a necessary condition for long-term success, but not a sufficient one. We have also to capture a significant part of the value we create.
  13. We acknowledge that most of the time our greatest challenge are not external threats and opportunities, but instead the effects of business entropy and inertia. “Only three things happen naturally in organizations: friction, confusion and underperformance. Everything else requires leadership.”
  14. We acknowledge that, “An individual’s responsibility for leadership is not dependent on authority. The deep-rooted assumption that authority equals responsibility is the root of much organizational evil.”
  15. We want to be free and for that reason, we accept the responsibility that comes with it.
  16. We value autonomy. We need decisions based on OCC, to be made as close to the actual work as possible.
  17. Simple, clear purpose policies and principles give rise to complex intelligent behavior; complex work rules and regulation give rise to simple and stupid behavior.
  18. We are driven by the rational of scalable learning, and not by the rational of scalable efficiency. Scalable learning is our top priority. We are working in teams to learn faster and better. Someone could has X years’ experience, and another 1 year's experience X times. The difference is in the ability to learn.
  19. We learned that individual expertise did not distinguish people as high performers. What distinguished high performers were larger and more diversified personal networks (teams). Engineers and designers are roughly five times more likely to turn to a person for information than to an impersonal source such as a database.
  20. We are not takers or matchers; we are givers. We earn influence without dominance. We are disagreeable givers, we are the person who gives the critical feedback that nobody wants to hear, but everyone needs to hear.
  21. Continuous Learning and sharing is a main objective. The organization, which learns best and first, and applies that learning to value creation, will be most likely to survive. The process of learning – hypothesis, data, anomaly, new hypothesis, data, and so on – is called scientific induction and is critical to us.
  22. Only for determined design projects, we follow the classic two steps linear model: (1) Problem definition, which is an analytic sequence, and (2) problem solution, which is a synthetic sequence.
  23. For indeterminate and therefore wicked design projects, we follow iterative models.
  24. We use metaphors to chunk (and think) laterally and to speak to the unconscious mind.
  25. We are a Why firm. We are not a How firm. If an employee asks why something is done the way it is, a proper answer is that it makes our clients happier.
  26. We carefully design our processes to maximize our clients’ positive “user’s experience.” We “swim-lane” our processes using three separation lines: Line of interaction, line of visibility, line of internal interaction.
  27. Hierarchy kills value creation and guarantees value destruction. People with a special title, tend to do only things that seem a match for their title; and to protect the power of that role, they hold on to specific knowledge. We like: networked-team structures, roles over positions-titles, and value flows from firm’s periphery to market.
  28. Continuous simplification. Subtraction is very important as we are becoming bigger. Before we put in a new rule, we see which existing rule we can kill. We follow the same approach with new meetings.
  29. Client engagement. We are client-focused and value-driven in purpose and vision. If it is not value creation from the client's perspective, then it is not value creation.
  30. Fair process, integrity and meritocracy throughout the firm. Value creation requires fairness in the way people are treated and incentivized, and fairness is only perceived when allocations (promotions, hires, layoffs, etc.) and compensation are based on value creation.
  31. We want to understand, and so we measure to improve ourselves. If you can’t measure it, it doesn’t exist.
  32. No assholes. We don’t allow this behavior. Anyone who causes emotional chaos, inspires fear or dread, or demeans or diminishes people is stopped cold.
  33. In our communication we use adjectives very carefully. Adjectives create emotions. We use nouns to communicate clarity. We know that reason leads to conclusions; emotion leads to action.
  34. We carefully choose the words we use. The words do not describe the world we live in, they determine the world we live in. We don't say "My opinion is...", we say "My hypothesis is..."
  35. When we are listening, we give attention to the words and looking for presuppositions (that come out of the sentence). We avoid mind reads (assumptions).
  36. Decision-making is based entirely on the expectations and it is relative to the OCC. We do not make decisions using or applying democracy. Opinions, faiths, beliefs, all have an anti-learning orientation, which destroys value.
  37. It is not my design. At some point is their design, for the design team, clients, users, auditors, etc.
  38. Sandbox = Boundary-free experimental environment.
  39. Innovating, not innovation; verb, not noun. Innovation all depends on the quality of the conversations.
  40. We question everything. Nothing is written in stone. Failing fast (and recovering fast) can be useful, especially if in doing so we get new information (meaning we learn fast), while we still have time to improve the design. We design our experiments (DoE) to maximize learning either we succeed or failed. Fail sucks, but instructs!
  41. If you have always done it that way, it is probably wrong. Do not fear mistakes. There are none. The way to succeed is to double "your failure rate." Imagination is more important than knowledge.
  42. We have an iterative mind and not a linear mind. Linear ways of thinking can deal with uncertainty, but only iterative ways of thinking can deal with ambiguity.
  43. Work In Progress (WIP) consumes investment capital, hides bottlenecks and represents risk of potential rework. We continuously minimize WIP. Our constant goal is to maximize throughput of work, not to optimize resource utilization.
  44. We measure our efforts -and investments- not in dollars or days, but in dollars * days (multiplication).
  45. We make intelligent use of data, which enables waste to be stripped-out of the construction process (CIM).
  46. The Value Creation Imperative demands to measure ourselves only against ourselves. We are not making the grave mistake of defining competitive advantage according to a comparison against other firms.

Tags: for professionals