This post discusses the ‘creed’ for a software technology company, Automaticc. It goes deep with line by line thoughts on the creed, as well as detailed discussion of implications for strategy and project management. This is full of ideas for action for the strategic PM.
The Automattic Creed
I bumped across this today, and thought I would share it. It really impressed me…and spoke to me in a deep way. It’s a creed – or sort of mission statement, but more.
THE AUTOMATTIC CREED
I will never stop learning. I won’t just work on things that are assigned to me. I know there’s no such thing as a status quo. I will build our business sustainably through passionate and loyal customers. I will never pass up an opportunity to help out a colleague, and I’ll remember the days before I knew everything. I am more motivated by impact than money, and I know that Open Source is one of the most powerful ideas of our generation. I will communicate as much as possible, because it’s the oxygen of a distributed company. I am in a marathon, not a sprint, and no matter how far away the goal is, the only way to get there is by putting one foot in front of another every day. Given time, there is no problem that’s insurmountable.
I think this ‘creed’ – while specific to Automattic – speaks to various aspects of strategic and tactical thinking – the subject of this blog. It brings together the why and how – in a world of uncertainty.
Let’s take a closer look and thinking about what each statement is saying.
Line By Line – Strategic, Tactical, and Digital
Here’s a breakdown, line by line – with my ideas on what it means.
- I will never stop learning – This recognizes that change is inevitable, and knowledge is perishable. Learning is part of strategy – part of making the enterprise sustain and survive.
- I won’t just work on things that are assigned to me – There is a value in generosity…and teamwork. And it is essential to survival. We are co-dependent, or interdependent. We are individuals, but are a team, and together are worth more than the sum of the parts. Let’s help each other advance so that we altogether can advance.
- I know there’s no such thing as a status quo – This acknowledges that everything is susceptible to change, and to being disrupted. That is both an opportunity and a risk.
- I will build our business sustainably through passionate and loyal customers – This acknowledges that the customer is the center…that without the customer we have nothing. It defines sustainment and survival of the business as maintaining a healthy and growing relationship with customers – by making them passionate and loyal.
- I will never pass up an opportunity to help out a colleague, and I’ll remember the days before I knew everything – This encourages everyone to put themselves in someone else’s shoes. Of course, no one knows everything – it puts it in plain and fun language – so we all need help sometimes. Plus, generosity is the food for relationships, and this is the attitude to take to provide that food.
- I am more motivated by impact than money – This recognizes that it’s not always easy to fully see the end result of our efforts. Some efforts may be profitable, but all contribute something to positive results in some way. Ultimately, an accumulation of positive actions and results – whether from curiosity, or doing good, or doing the right thing – come. And if people are doing things that have impact, there’s opportunity to make strategic decisions along the way.
- I know that Open Source is one of the most powerful ideas of our generation – This is a clear statement about the company’s approach to making money. I note that it specifically is saying that it will keep its code open source and not proprietary, as a matter of value and strategy. Other things will allow it to make money, and the common good will best be served.
- I will communicate as much as possible, because it’s the oxygen of a distributed company – This highlights and essential ingredient in toady’s remote, work from wherever you are environment. Just because people are not co-located – something that is increasingly impossible and even undesirable – does not mean that communications will be less. Instead, this statement challenges people to find to ways and reasons to communicate.
- I am in a marathon, not a sprint – This clearly describes the value of long range thinking. Moving in a positive direction consistently, and begin will to change when needed, is OK in a marathon. And keeping your eye on the distant future is helpful for thinking truly strategically.
- No matter how far away the goal is, the only way to get there is by putting one foot in front of another every day – This takes #9 a step further…that continuing to move toward the goal is most important. Of course, agile allows us to break down the long term goal into much shorter steps where progress is easy to measure, near term motivation is achieved, and we can all feel a sense of accomplishment along the way to distant goals.
- Given time, there is no problem that’s insurmountable – This is the ultimate motivator. One cannot help but think positively with such an attitude. It is required for strategy and implementation to be the most powerful and effective.
There is clearly a lot of meaning behind this – what do you think?
Let me refine my thoughts by focusing specifically of implications for strategy, then project management.
Implications for Strategy
The Automattic creed reflects a set of values and principles that can have several implications for the strategy of a business. Let’s analyze how each statement in the creed may influence a business’s strategy:
- Continuous Learning – The business should prioritize ongoing education and skill development. It should lean in on investments in employee training and development programs, and foster a culture of innovation and adaptability.
- Proactive Initiative – The culture should be encouraging toward a proactive approach to problem-solving and innovation. The culture should encourage employees to take the initiative, ultimately identifying new opportunities and improvements.
- Anticipating Change – The culture should highlight the need to be vigilant about changes in the business environment. The strategy needs to be adaptable and ready to pivot when necessary.
- Customer Focus – The focus on the customer’s needs and desires needs to be apparent in conversations from the top of the organization down to every single employee. Customer-centric strategies and long-term relationships are a priority.
- Collaboration and Humility – The culture and strategy should facilitate and promote teamwork, knowledge sharing, and mentorship within the organization.
- Impact-Driven – The strategy should focus on creating value that makes a positive difference – with certain defined social responsibility, ethical, and other non-financial considerations – in addition to the necessity of achieving financial success.
- Open Source Advocacy – There should be a profound belief in collaboration and open innovation demonstrated in practice. The business should adopt and contribute to open-source practices and build commercial strategy around that.
- Communication – As a distributed organization – sourcing the best talent wherever it is – the strategy should prioritize effective internal and external communication. This can impact decision-making processes and customer relationships.
- Long-Term Perspective – The business strategy must balance setting achievable milestones with building a long term, sustainable competitive advantage.
- Problem Solving – The business must foster a problem-solving orientation. This is consistent with empowerment through training and education as well as encouraging initiative and personal responsibility.
It’s about the practicalities of the implementation of strategy, as I covered in various posts, such as McKinsey 7S Framework, Digital Transformation Strategy, Business Model Innovation, and Network Effect .
And the discussion on ‘business core values and the strategic PM‘ hits on many of the same point.
The creed shapes the culture, values, and priorities, and the strategy must be developed in alignment with these principles. It must be in order to create sustainable value in the long run.
Implications for Project Management
The Automattic creed contains values and principles that can significantly impact the management and implementation of projects within a business. Here’s how each element of the creed can influence project management:
- Continuous Learning – Project teams should be encouraged to continually learn and adapt. This includes utilizing improved project methodologies best practices, and the incorporation of new tools and technologies as they become available.
- Proactive Initiative – Team members should be empowered to take the initiative and explore innovative solutions to project challenges. This can foster creativity and agility in project management culture.
- Anticipating Change – Project managers and teams should be vigilant in anticipating changes in project requirements and the external environment. The approach need to be flexible to adapt to changing project conditions.
- Customer Focus – Project objectives should align with creating value for passionate and loyal customers. That includes not only the stakeholders of the project, but the full set of customers of the organization. Customer satisfaction on both fronts needs to be top priority.
- Collaboration and Humility – This encourages a culture of collaboration within project teams, where team members help each other and mentor newcomers. Improved project outcomes through knowledge sharing and collective problem-solving are more likely.
- Impact-Driven – Define clear project goals that focus on creating a positive impact, even if they don’t directly correlate with financial gains. This can involve social or environmental considerations in project planning.
- Open Source Advocacy – Use of open-source tools and practices by default for project development. This can promote collaboration, reduce costs, and enhance project transparency. And it’s consistent with the company-wide approach.
- Communication – Emphasize regular and transparent communication among team members, stakeholders, and project sponsors. Keep the importance front and center for all team members, especially in a distributed project environment.
- Long-Term Perspective – Consistent with the approach of the strategic PM, view all projects as part of a long-term business strategy. How does the project align with the organization’s overarching goals and contribute to sustainable growth.
- Problem Solving – Encourage a problem-solving mindset in project teams. When challenges arise, the focus should be on finding solutions and not giving up. Persistence and adaptability are key.
It’s all about matching the strategy to the culture – in this case one of adaptability, customer-centricity, collaboration, ethical considerations, and a focus on long-term impact. It is essential for project managers and teams to internalize these values and incorporate them into their project management methodologies and decision-making processes.
This post delved into the ‘creed’ for a software technology company, Automaticc. It provided my line by line thoughts on the creed, as well as detailed discussion of implications for strategy and project management.
What are your thoughts and ideas on this creed?
This Video, “Our company values, from the inside out”, can help get you thinking outside the box.