We give Culture Tours on the first Friday of each month. They begin with our core values and collaborative is always the first.
Why is it a core value: The Motley Fool was founded in community. We are better investors because we work with our members. They have experiences and knowledge that we don’t.
This translates to our working environment as well. Union gives strength. Our decisions are better when we work together. Fools are more productive and satisfied when they know each other. We gain energy when we are all working together to achieve the same goals.
We take this seriously. In fact, we have a Chief Collaboration Officer. Long time Fool Todd Etter works full time to help us get to know each other and work together in creative ways.
Here are my honest answers to questions I referenced in my first post about core values:
1) Do we hire for this value?
Yes! We want to see it in the candidate we are interviewing and demonstrate its importance to them. Interviews at The Fool usually involve 4-8 interviewers and they all have a say in the hiring process. We also have a special part of the interview conducted by the “Foolish Ambassador.” This is a Fool from another department who wouldn’t be working closely with the candidate who gets hired. This Fool assesses Foolish Fit and core values. A software developer might interview a stock analyst or an accountant might interview an editor.
2) Will we fire for this value?
This is an important question, but it will be hard to answer for all of my posts. I don’t like to think about times when people haven’t been able to embrace our core values, but, alas, sometimes it happens. Collaboration is such an integral part of who we are as a business that, ultimately, people who don’t embrace it just won’t work out. Here is a hypothetical example of how this plays out here: Morton is a brilliant designer. He has a lot of excellent experience and keeps up to date on the latest trends. He also thinks he has all the right answers (after all, what does the scrum master know about design?). He works with his head down for weeks at a time to produce “the perfect” project that he unveils with a big “TA DA!” By the time he’s done, he has strong sense of ownership and reluctance to accept constructive feedback. But instead of applause, his fellow Fools are confused and frustrated. While he was heads down, the project evolved and the design no longer addressed the needs of the project. Even worse, he’s not willing to listen and make the needed adjustments. He is frustrated with the team and they are not impressed with his lack of collaboration. Great Fools don’t “TA DA.” They seek input early, often, and from a variety of sources.
3) Can you see and feel this value walking through the office?
It’s almost impossible not to see collaboration when you walk through the office. We have no private offices and most of our desks are on wheels, so teams can easily push their desks together to work on a project. Frequently you’ll see several Fools playing pool or sharing stories from their recent vacation. There are also a lot of white boards with people huddled around them, discussing what they’re working on that day.
4) Is the value referenced frequently? When was the last time?
In fact, so frequently that it’s just part of daily Foolish vocabulary. I promised to answer this one honestly (also a core value), so the last time I saw a reference was today on our intranet – probably not the best example but it is the most recent:
Mark K: Hey Fools: if there’s an empty dishwasher right next to the sink, why are there always dirty dishes in said sink? A conundrum, wouldn’t you agree?
Peter V: I commented on this to Anthony just a few days ago! It just doesn’t seem Foolish to expect someone else to clean up after you, does it?
Tom: OTOH, collaborative is a core value.
Let’s be collaborative on this blog post. I certainly don’t have all the answers. How do you collaborate in your office? How can we top it?