Before returning to Finland I used to work for a client that had an old-school, big corporative environment. I used to work in their offices and had to adapt to their methodologies and work style. I was not able to catch a lot of the fresher, more innovative approach of the company I was really hired by, as I was working on the client’s offices. After coming to Finland, I started to work with some friends in a company that back then was starting. I have been there for more than two years already and I have learned a lot.
1 – Management awareness
Make people aware of the cost of management. When you work for a big company you are never aware of how long does it take to manage a team or how much paperwork is involved in salaries or tax payments. It helps to appreciate work that otherwise is totally invisible.
2 – Minimal internal bureaucracy
There is no time for endless mail chains or asking all the time for permissions to a chain of command.
3 – Trust is key
Trust your employees. Let them take decisions and delegate instead of trying to overlook every possible task. Let people decide on what they do better than you.
4 – Fix a common goal
There is no place for internal disputes. Everybody needs to push in the same direction.
5 – Direct communication is a must
Talk with any person whenever you think you need to do it.
6 – No email
Back then, email was most of the time used as a weapon to find guilty people in case of something going wrong. Avoid. It is a time sink and also tending to cause misunderstandings.
7 – No crisis-blaming
If something goes wrong just fix it, don’t lose your time on finding culprits. It is ineffective and damaging. If you need to tell something to somebody, just do it privately, after solving the issue and in a way that helps them to change for the good.
8 – Team building
Dedicate time and resources to team building, as they create a sense of community and improve work.
9 – Be open
Share all the news, whether they are good or bad. Nobody expects everything to be perfect all the time, but by showing those bad news, the trust will be enhanced and people will identify more with the final goal.
10 – Establish and optimize processes
It is harder to make mistakes when processes are established. Sketch them and keep optimizing them as much as possible, all the time. Don’t try to make them perfect since the beginning or they will never start to be used.
11 – Reduce the number of managerial tools
We live in a world where there are thousands of tools and apps to manage time and resources. Don’t fall into the trap of trying to use too many. Find the ones you like or want, stick to them and keep their number to a minimum. All of them need your time, at the end.
12 – Invest in your brand
Your brand is the “profile picture” of your company. Make a good selfie that shows your values and use it coherently and constantly all over the internet and in every place where your company can be portraited within reasonable limits.
13 – Don’t be afraid
Be bold, trust yourself, the rest of your workmates and what you are building with them. If you don’t fully trust you are the best, who will do?
14 – Grow, but be small in spirit
If you build a great work culture and a great company it will grow and at some point, you will face changes in your structure. Keep in mind the way it worked at the beginning and stick to the principles that made it great.