Why We Dropped “Enjoyable” as a Core Worth

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And the way, consequently, we’re having extra enjoyable than ever.

“Have enjoyable.”

She stared at me.

“Go forward. Simply have enjoyable.”

I wasn’t positive methods to reply.

“Having enjoyable but?”

I used to be speaking with my sister, Elizabeth, and he or she was serving to me come to an embarrassing realization.

Groove’s “Core Values”—those I had so publicly declared to be game-changing—weren’t serving to us.

In truth, they had been doing the other.

And maybe probably the most counterproductive certainly one of all was “Enjoyable.”

Enjoyable as a core worth is a lie

I employed Elizabeth, an skilled enterprise coach, to assist us flip issues round when Groove started to stagnate.

We spent lots of time exploring the muse of the corporate: our individuals, our processes, and the beliefs we relied on to drive our enterprise.

One of many first issues to come back underneath scrutiny was our listing of core values.

And whereas the complete listing acquired reworked—I’ll share extra about this in a future put up—the worth she challenged me most on was “Enjoyable”.

For starters, it was apparent that we weren’t having enjoyable.

Does this sound like somebody who’s having enjoyable?

However this wasn’t a difficulty of me merely not dwelling our core values.

It went a lot deeper than that.

In some ways, core values like “Enjoyable” led us to the crucial points we had been experiencing.

Selecting to work on “enjoyable” initiatives on the expense of avoiding the onerous, gritty, tedious ones ended up hurting our infrastructure, piling up our technical debt and stalling our development.

As a substitute of structuring our workforce to place skilled specialists in each position with a transparent management hierarchy, we stored our flat construction and let workforce members tackle obligations they weren’t ready for. Reorganizing didn’t sound like it could be a lot enjoyable.

As a substitute of making strict growth tips and full specs for each function we shipped, we took an off-the-cuff method, designing on the fly and planning to ship “at any time when it’s carried out”, resisting guidelines and processes as a result of they didn’t appear enjoyable.

As a substitute of getting my fingers soiled and asking onerous questions on why we had been lacking deadlines and making expensive errors, I sat again and trusted the workforce to ultimately get the job carried out. Detective work and discovery conferences didn’t really feel like they’d be enjoyable.

As a substitute of recognizing when workforce members had been not an amazing match for his or her position, after which both working with them to both change their position or, if crucial, half methods, we stored everybody round, as that was much more enjoyable than having tough conversations with long-term workers.

Prioritizing the enjoyable method over the tough, disciplined and results-focused one harm our enterprise, it harm our workforce, and most significantly, it harm our clients.

As a mature enterprise with 1000’s of consumers relying on us, specializing in enjoyable was greater than a mistake; it was irresponsible.

We wanted to alter our priorities.

Takeaway: It’s a beaten-to-death cliche, but it surely’s true: work isn’t presupposed to be enjoyable. It may be enjoyable (extra on that under), however making an attempt to optimize for it from the start is simply going to harm you ultimately.

A peek at what we modified

There have been lots of changes to our enterprise over the past yr and a half.

And whereas altering our core values wasn’t probably the most actionable change, it was definitely probably the most basic, and it has influenced each subsequent change.

In a number of weeks, I’ll share Groove’s new core values, and the way we developed them with the advantage of expertise—and particularly, the expertise of doing it improper the primary time—on our aspect.

In brief, our concentrate on enjoyable has shifted to a concentrate on execution, doing what you do and being held accountable for outcomes.

And at present, we’re a totally completely different firm.

Buyer satisfaction is up, workforce morale is excessive, our tech is working easily and I’ve by no means been extra optimistic about our future.

We’ve added new construction and processes and adopted Agile processes throughout the board.

Agile and organized

We’ve introduced in new workforce members with the expertise and abilities to take us into the subsequent chapter, we’ve parted methods with workforce members who weren’t a match for our imaginative and prescient, and we’ve promoted leaders from inside.

We’ve constructed out dozens of latest processes and workflows that assist us make progress every single day towards our targets.

And guess what? 

We’re having much more enjoyable now.

Takeaway: Our enterprise has gone by many modifications to restart our development. Rethinking our core values was the muse for all of them.

Succeed to have enjoyable, not the opposite method round

It seems that the “enjoyable” we had been making an attempt to inject into our enterprise was inside our attain all alongside.

It simply didn’t appear like enjoyable from a distance; it regarded like tough, deep work that moved us towards long-term targets, reasonably than short-term initiatives that had been “enjoyable” at present.

Now we’re having A LOT of enjoyable, as a result of…

Getting emails from grateful, excited clients is enjoyable.

Seeing workforce members turn into higher variations of themselves is enjoyable.

Hitting growth milestones throughout the timelines we set in our product roadmap is enjoyable.

Having our management workforce working in sync with each other is enjoyable.

Watching our key metrics enhance with each month of onerous work is enjoyable.

We used to have “Enjoyable Fridays” once we simply acquired on a Zoom name and talked about no matter got here to thoughts. Now we now have “Friday Wins” the place we discuss our wins from that week… and it’s rather more enjoyable.

Because it seems, succeeding is much more enjoyable than anything in enterprise ever could possibly be.

Takeaway: Doing the onerous work that your clients deserve will hardly ever be enjoyable. However the ensuing outcomes could be probably the most enjoyable you’ll ever have at work.

Specializing in enjoyable is short-sighted

I do know that many entrepreneurs will disagree with me on this.

Too many influencers construct their manufacturers on “making work enjoyable” for this put up to not be controversial.

They’ll say issues like “life’s too brief to not have enjoyable at work”.

However having been on either side, I now consider that enjoyable is a deeply short-sighted precedence. 

Life’s too brief, that’s true. 

However I’d reasonably have my brief life crammed with intervals of onerous work punctuated by intensely enjoyable wins, reasonably than front-loading small bursts of enjoyable after which paying for it with failure.

Alex Turnbull

Alex Turnbull
Alex is the CEO & Founding father of Groove. He loves to assist different entrepreneurs construct startups by sharing his personal experiences from the trenches.

Alex Turnbull


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