You Can't Make a Table with Two Legs

Although this is a technology blog, I’d like to break the rules ever so slightly for this post and talk about the important role that people play in an organisation, regardless of sector.

Each year TSG arranges an ‘achievers trip’ for its staff, and this year the destination was Spain.

I was fortunate enough to qualify for the trip, and among the many great memories I’ll take away is of fellow achiever Dean Collins, touting a piece of flip chart paper in his hands like it was a bull fighter’s cape.  That image will stay with me for a while… Olé!

Anyway… (little in-joke there) the reason Dean was in this predicament, was because everybody on the trip had a bit of a brain storming session.  We wanted to talk about behaviours, and the ones that we came up with were behaviours that are not just applicable for a company; they can be applied to everyday life too.

Values and behaviours are something that I believe every person and company should have.  Recently I read Amazon’s Values, and their opening statement was, “Whether you are an individual contributor or the manager of a large team, you are an Amazon leader.” How cool and inspiring is that message?!

In our session there were a few behaviours that really stood out for me:

Steven Lynn (Head Office) came out with a cracking one, which was about adding value. The point he made was that in every situation, think about how you are going to be adding value by doing what you are about to do.  A really strong message as we can become more productive by doing less of what we don’t need to do…

Stuart Wannop (Head Office) added that people who are passionate about what they do generally succeed. (A bit of the ‘Rovers Faithful’ passion came out there I think!).

The final couple of behaviours were added by Steven Pearson (Head Office) and Terry Saunders (Manchester Office), which were about attention to detail and how important it is to continually learn new skills, better ways of doing things, and learn more about your colleagues so you can best support each other.

At the end though, with a pure burst of inspiration, Vicky Corkett (Leeds Office) pulled a few of these behavioural words quickly together with a phrase that was just genius, and awesomely presented by Stu:

“Love the detail and think about the value you add by learning.”

There were a number of presentations in the session, but I think the one that stuck in everyone’s mind the most was the one made by Donald McKay (Hamilton Office).

Donald presented his group’s behaviours with a focus on Communication. His opening statement was:

“My name is Donald, and I will solve your problem”, which was then followed by “My name is Donald, if I can’t solve your problem I will find the right person who will, and then we will solve your problem.” Funnily enough this is the first value that Amazon talks about in their list:

“Leaders start with the customer and work backwards, they communicate constantly and vigorously with them, to earn their trust and become fanatical about solving their problem.”

I think the most impressive part of the whole trip, apart from Darren Rafferty’s (Birmingham Office) questionable fashion sense which consisted of a toffee coloured shirt with blue shorts and burgundy slip ons….. was the fact that Duncan Davies (Head Office), Ayshea Robertson (Head Office) and Darren all went on a 5 hour hiking expedition the morning after a night of “a few” beers.

It was also in the 30 degree blistering heat, which was just extreme hardcore!  And a great example of the dedication and determination shown by TSG staff on a daily basis.

On the flight back I was in a reflective mood, and what came to mind was the phrase, “You can’t make a table with two legs”.

So what does that mean? Well it means that you can’t build a company on your own, it takes talented, motivated, and highly committed people.  All of which we have in abundance at TSG.

I’d be interested to hear from other companies about what values you hold for your people and your company.  Feel free to share them in the comments section below.