EXPLORE: Sometimes Our Plans For Action Are Mostly Just An Active Effort To Reinforce or Revive Your Original Principles And Ideas

By Paul Maslany | June 9th, 2017

Sometimes, when we are trying to rebuild or rebrand ourselves, or improve our leadership style, we are really just trying to do a better job at what we originally were committed to. Sometime since then, we lost our way. Maybe the bottom line became more important than our original principles, or perhaps we were distracted or simply overwhelmed.  This can actually apply to so many people who aren’t leaders, as well.  My own personal journey has had some pretty extreme ups and downs. The more I manage to stick to my original principles though, and be the me I know I am, the easier I found success.

When I was hired by Zac to work at Salt IO I never imagined that 2 years later my role wouldn’t be the new programmer, as I had expected (and originally planned), but would be more the role of online blogger/journalist, podcast producer, and media manager.  That’s the simplest way to describe what I actually do. Technically, my title is Team Administrator, Research Assistant, and Podcast Producer & Co-Host.  I do have some administration duties, but I found my way to do something I’m drawn to, and good at, by following my principles. I committed myself to learning how to code, all while doing whatever I could in the meantime to add value to the company. By following what I was good at, but not giving up on my commitments, I was able to find my own path, and my own place in the company. Now that I have that place, it’s a place I can continue to grow from. It might not be doing code, as I imagined, but it’s still tech, and I’m still learning and growing. Who knows? One day, I might be a programmer. As you will read below, at Salt we live by “You Don’t Always Know What’s Going to Happen.”

Zac, my boss, is taking a leadership development course with Errol from Leader 193. Zac shared the most recent leg of his journey and its results on the air this week in Leadership in Tech's 25th Episode, and it reminded me how most of the time the thing holding us back is ourselves.  Episode 25: “I Love It!” gave me deja vu, and took me back to those early days of when I first was hired by Salt IO.  I think it was actually my first assignment, and it was to make a PowerPoint deck to show the company's principles, and what we’re about.  The original deck had 6 main slides, for 6 main principles.  We expanded the deck to have 2 additional sections, rules and guidelines.  These sections were much larger than the first, especially the rules section.

Zac and Errol do a great job going through Zac’s action plan, and breaking it all down.  I’m not going to repeat it, not necessarily. I’m going to show what Zac’s thought process was almost 2 years ago in regards to the points he brings up as his main plan of action, and show how most of them aren’t just similar but are actually identical!  Oftentimes we know what we have to do from the beginning, or we might think we’re in line with our principles but our clients or co-workers might perceive things differently.  It’s best to re-evaluate every so often, to make sure we are doing things the right way and not falling short on the things that are the most important, such as customer relations.  Below is the actual Salt IO Company Principles.

 

Salt IO | What We’re About

COMPANY PRINCIPLES

(August 2015)

1) We Don’t Always Know What Is Going To Happen.

This means that nothing is concrete. It’s okay to hope for the best, but we should prepare for the worst. Spending extra time or resources ensuring that we are prepared for any variable is a much safer strategy than attempting to complete projects or mandates with the bare minimum. The cost of a disaster that you’re not prepared for, especially depending on the importance of the project (as Zac said this week, there’s a big difference between writing software for a space shuttle, and software for an iPhone), could quite literally be your job, even your career.  

The other way of looking at this, at least for myself, is that we should live each day to its fullest, including in how hard we’re working. Don’t think you’ll have time to make up for missing work, or falling behind, because you don’t always know if you will.  The same goes for taking chances in life on things like love.  Live each day like it’s your last, because no matter how healthy you are, or cautious, you could be struck by lightning or hit by a drunk driver. You just never know, no one does, when your last day on earth is.  So live life to the fullest, because you might not get a chance to talk to that girl tomorrow, or tell your kids you love them. Whatever you do, whoever you are, cherish what you have and don’t be afraid to live you life, and reach for something more. This goes for at work as well, you should never stop reaching for a better career, to make a difference. You have to spend time working no matter what, so make the time you spend working worthwhile. It’s never worth it to drag your feet.

2) There Are More Smart People Out There Than In Here. 

A reminder: every day you take off, there are thousands and thousands of competitors working. Every day that you work a full 8 hour day, thousands and thousands of competitors are putting in overtime.  There’s always a bigger fish, and there’s always a smarter person in your field. Not only do you need to remember that you are competing with them in the free market, but that superior worker could apply at your company any day. They might not replace you, but they might surpass you, or steal your opportunities. It’s extremely competitive, not just within individual companies but outside of them even more.  Our competitors will stop at nothing to steal our concepts, customers, and profits.

3) If We Do The Right Thing For Our Users We Will Be Successful. 

This one is simple, and I think universal. It’s in the same camp as “The Customer Is Always Right”. Doing the right thing for your customer is keeping them happy, and doing whatever they ask of you within your abilities and within your power.   

Karma. I believe karma in all things, including business.

[Karma (noun)

(in Hinduism and Buddhism) the sum of a person's actions in this and previous states of existence, viewed as deciding their fate in future existences.

informal:

  • destiny or fate, following as effect from cause.]

I think the idea of karma plays a huge role in business, and if you don’t take advantage of the people you do business with, or provide a service for, things will go better for your company than if you try to make a quick buck off someone else, or deceive them.

4) Win-Win Deals Are The Only Deals Worth Doing

Any deal that is good for you, and bad for your client or partner, isn’t worth doing. The same can be said for deals that are only good for them, but not for you.  Business should be about the advancement of all involved. It’s much more profitable to make deals that work out well for those you work with, so that they will continue to want to work with you.

5) Our CoWorkers Are Smart and Have Good Intentions

We should never think people we work with are out to get us, take our jobs, steal our projects, or hurt us in any way. At Salt IO we expect and assume that everyone’s a team player, care about the success of their coworkers and the company, that they aren’t going to mess with anyone.

We should also try not to make assumptions about our coworkers intelligence. Even if someone's project fails, or they make a ridiculous suggestion, does not mean they’re stupid.  The chances that someone stupid or malicious would have been hired in the first place are incredibly low, and we have all had bad ideas, bad days, and have had our own failures in business, and life. We should never expect perfection from others, just that everyone drives towards it. 

6) We Can Have Fun While Building A Business And Changing The World.

Don’t forget what it’s all about, building a business. Building a business doesn’t have to be boring, it can be fun. We can look at it as a challenge, and that we are trying our hardest to find success for our company.  If our company is successful enough, and we can produce bleeding edge tech and code, than we could change the world. Literally. 

 

Zac Ruiz, Owner of Salt, IO.

Zac Ruiz, Owner of Salt, IO.

If you listened to The Leadership in Tech Podcast this week, then you should be noticing that some of these are the same as what Zac discussed, exactly. He has always known what’s important to him, and the fact that this leadership development course has revealed his weakness as the thing he considers the most important in his business shows that I am right. We usually know what to do, we just need to be constantly reminded to re-align our path and make sure we stay on target.