Sitting at a table surrounded by mugs of hot coffee, notepads, markers, pens and each other, a group of professionals decided it was time to do things differently. Flexability was created out of the idea that work can be profitable, enjoyable, and you can change the world while you’re at it. Revolutionary, right?
I came across a post recently that referenced a quote by Clarence Francis and it was so on point that the words literally kept my fingers from scrolling further down the page.
“You can buy a man's time; you can buy his physical presence at a given place; you can even buy a measured number of his skilled muscular motions per hour. But you cannot buy enthusiasm... you cannot buy loyalty... you cannot buy the devotion of hearts, mind or souls.”
As a brand-new organization, the founding members of Flexability had an opportunity to design a culture, that would encompass our values and our vision to change the world by changing workplaces. We believe companies that embrace and implement a people-first culture, while prioritizing equity and inclusion, will outperform the competition.
No matter the size of a company, these ideas can be difficult to implement and sustain. I’ve worked inside organizations ranging from a Fortune One, with 2.2 million global employees to Flexability, where I am now one of six founding team members. Building a culture that prioritizes people takes commitment at all levels. It’s a conscious choice that requires active leadership, especially during times of stress, growth, and financial uncertainty.
Sitting together at the table, our team started this process with two questions, “Who are we? And, what do we value?” So many words and phrases covered our white flip chart pages with the hope of what we were about to build. The final list came from the most democratic strategy we could think of – choose three traits and the ones with the greatest number of votes will comprise the chemical compound of this new organism. At the end of the exercise, I walked away knowing I was about to work for a company I am so excited to get to know. This is a company I want to hang out with, devote time to, learn from, and introduce to other people so that they can benefit as well.
Who We Are
● Fun ● Easy to do business with ● Disruptive to the status quo ● Experts ● Energetic ● Positive ● Healthy ● Intuitive ● Curious ● Diverse ● Visionary ● Restorative ● Solution-Finders ● Customer-centric ● Early adopters ● Peculiar
What We Value
● We are people first, always ● We are driven by our passion to accomplish our mission ● We keep our promises ● We embrace creativity in leadership
I find myself curious as to what words will resonate with anyone reading these lists. For various reasons, each characteristic and value holds a specific power for me and a responsibility to ensure our working environment reflects these ideals, every day.
The moment we set out on this journey; I upped my game in devouring leadership models. I’ve been filling my head with the inspiration of men and women (Helen Keller Ernest Shackleton, Juanita Morris Kreps, Ursula Burns, and Marc Benioff) who’ve built powerful legacies in great part by championing people. It’s helping to keep my mind focused on our long-term vision while my hands are busy accomplishing the ever-increasing pile of daily tasks.
If this new venture is determined to change workplaces by proving that people-first cultures are the smarter way to do business, we can offer nothing less than a commitment to lead by example. The strongest belief I’ve built out of the spectrum of my professional experiences is that servant-leaders, who commit to lifelong learning, will always do a better job of igniting possibility. As Clarence Francis states, it’s how you build devotion of “hearts, minds, and souls.”