What Doing Things “A bit differently” Really Means

By Alex Vidales, Motley Fool Spirit Guide


You’ve heard these lines before:

  • “We do things a little differently around here.”
  • “It’s a bit of a nut house.”
  • “So hold onto your hats because it’s going to be a wild ride.”

But the reality of most companies is this – “We do things exactly like everyone else…and jeez, we think we are clever.” 

The Motley Fool used to be known as doing things differently; we had a vacation policy rooted in personal responsibility.  Basically, take off when you want as long as you get your work done.  Was that different?  Yes, very much so in 2000 but much more common now in 2012.

We said that you could show up in work in sandals, bring your dog to chill with us, and we even let Fools spray paint the walls  – all things that were different then, but are now much more the norm then the exception…at least in the circles I talk to. Maybe you still work for a place that requires a suit and thinks you will only get sick or need time off at the rate of an additional 1.5 days a year earned.  How horrible for you! Go immediately to jobs.fool.com, and tell them Alex sent you.

What is the new way to “do things a little differently”?  It’s not the monthly Pizza Day which is still magical after all these years; show me an office that doesn’t bring in some food on some kind of semi-regular schedule.  It’s not the weekly NERF Gun Wars or the ever-threatening game of Assassin that sits like the Sword of Damocles above our heads.  It’s not our yearly Foolapalooza all-hands meeting that was headlined by Trixie Whitley; it wasn’t our Fool Fest Concert headlined by Ketura and Thievery Corporation.  It’s not about the ice cream socials, or the happy hour that had our director of premium services and CTO schooling the new recruits on beer pong. Companies have done all of these things in some version or another, and frankly they are about money and the effort.  Not to diminish any of these things because I love them all! And I hope we do them from now until the end of time, because this Fool’s favorite core value is and always will be FUN!

But, the way we will do things differently is by making good on a promise of making The Motley Fool a world-class organization that fosters a positive, creative, and innovative atmosphere, where you are challenged and challenge others to do their best work.  We will reach out to every Fool and check in, making sure they have all the tools needed to succeed.  We will earn trust amongst the Fools, so that together we can create a career that satisfies their hearts and souls as well as the pocketbooks and brains.

That my friends is how we do things differently in 2012 and beyond.

So, will you be the old-old norm (9-t0-5 hours and limited days of vacation), the old-norm (fun things in the office), or the new and improved way of making things “a bit differently” around your office?

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