How do you have a culture that is supportive and accepting? How do you have a culture where people can be themselves and at the same time not adversely impact others? There are many factors in developing a supportive company culture. We have long believed that putting people first is the key to a successful culture. Our approach has always been to have the team decide on what they want from each other.
At our October Team Meeting, we gave everyone time to write down what they wanted from each other. We collected this on post-it notes and an online tool called Miro. We collated all the statements/requests and it came to 6.5 pages. Reducing the duplicates and similar statements, the end result was 3.5 pages, that were then sent to the team for their review. The challenge was obvious – while it was all inclusive, it was too long.
We wanted to develop a social contract that reflected our culture and created a reference point for how to approach situations, rather than a set of rules to live by. Happy to say that we have achieved that by creating broad statements that were in our tone of voice and in some cases humorous. This list creates a much broader view of a situation than an unambiguous rule. The statements capture who we are as a team and guide how we interact with each other.
Luminary’s social contract
The social contract we came up with reflects the fundamental values we hold:
- We crave autonomy and we value each other
- We focus on the problem, not the person
- Team members feel safe to take risks and be genuine with each other.
Our social contract provides the freedom to be yourself and guides you on how to relate to people and produce great work together.
We agree to have these statements guide our actions and behaviour:
- Talk in the office as though your Mum is listening
- Treat people as though they are important to you
- Treat the office, meeting rooms and equipment as though you paid for them
- Approach problems like you don’t know the answer
- Complete your timelogs with integrity, as though the agency’s future depends on it
- Treat people’s time as though it is precious
- Listen to people and maybe they will listen to you
- Attend meetings as though Jean-Claude Van Damme was on the other end of the video
- Seek to use the most effective communication channels
- Approach time zones as though you were the one who had to get up early or stay late
- Imagine you were the one who had to learn a language to work here
- Have people around you win
- Remember, we are all mentors and we are all students
- Treat meeting start and end times as though you run the Japanese bullet trains
- Acknowledge the wins and the losses
- If you make a mistake, own it, remedy it and move on
- Leave your office spaces better than you found them
- Always code as if the person who ends up maintaining your code will be a violent psychopath who knows where you live
- Dance like nobody is watching (it's safe to be you)
- Be excellent to each other
If a new team member joins us, we are open to their ideas and welcome their contribution. If there is a need for a major change to it, we will seek to enter into a new agreement.
Want to read more about social contracts? Check out ‘Social contracts: Working out how to work together’.
Want to tap into the expertise of an agency that’s been in operation since 1999?Get in touch
Want more? Here are some other blog posts you might be interested in.