ThreeWill Shared Values – Passion

Danny:Hello and welcome to the ThreeWill podcast.


This is your host Danny Ryan, and I’m here with Tommy Ryan. How’s it going Tommy?




Danny:Chilly willy.


Tommy:That’s all I can say is chilly.


Danny:Yes it is, it’s a bit cold outside.


So we’re wrapping up today with the last shared value. And that shared value is passion. And we love what we do and working at ThreeWill. And I’ll read to you from our website what we have about passion.


We value having an environment where people choose to come to work because they’re passionate about what they do. We realize that our company exists because we provide a service or solution that has a positive economic difference to our client. That being said, we always challenge ourselves to stay in the balance between making money and having fun at work. A significant proportion of your time is at work, so it is important that you make the most of it. Having passion with what you do, and fun while you’re doing it. What do you think about that Tom?


Tommy:It’s an interesting value that I think in the early days we did not have. And I remember refactoring the values, trying to tease out and simplify them. And this last one of passion, it is a value that we have but we never called it out explicitly. We talk about the intersection of your skill, passion and business need when we look at what people do at ThreeWill. But we wanted to call this out because it is that balancing factor to what’s work about? It’s not all about getting the work done but having fun as you do it. And so it’s an important value, it’s a value that I think we seek out in the interview process. We want to have people that are passionate about what they’re doing, so we can continue to have a culture that’s more of a carrot versus stick type culture. So I think that value is important that we call it out to recognize that without that the rest of the values, I think, kind of collapse without having it in balance with passion.


Danny:Now the making money and having fun, isn’t that from Gore? Is that where that came from?


Tommy:Yeah that did come from Gore. It’s kind of the bottom line as a business, we’re here to make money and have fun. And any business endeavor, there’s that money aspect. And sometimes it gets honed in just on the money aspect, so they try to keep that in balance with making money and having fun.


I think people have fun when they’re doing something they’re passionate about. So if we’re focusing in around our passions, what are the types of solutions we like to provide. What types of roles we like to play, as it comes to being on a project team. What kind of problems we like to solve. And if we’re honing in on those things that we really love to do, and it pulls the passion that we need to have to keep on enduring past the challenging parts of our work and our projects.


Danny:Yeah and I think one of the things you and I always look at is what type of environment are we creating and I think we start this out with where we’re trying to create an environment where people come to work because they’re passionate about what they do. It gets them up in the morning, they’re excited about it, they want to come in and really focus and they’re excited about what they’re doing each day.


Tommy:Right. Yeah and I think sometimes you get caught up in the minutiae of what you’re doing and it can drag you down but you have to step back and say overall what am I doing here? Yeah I’m sitting inside of Outlook all day, in front of Word and Excel, and if I think about just the skill of being able to manage email and write proposals and contracts, that’s not really what I’m passionate about, it’s more of the creating the environment to be able to do the work that we do, and that starts with that sales process. So that helps me stay passionate about I do because if I were just doing contracts and managing email, and it wasn’t in an environment and in a company that’s doing things that I believe in, then gosh that would be very painful. To come into work every day and just open up Excel and PowerPoint and Word and Outlook.


In a sense, starting this whole thing out, there was a lot of passion around visual studio and understanding technologies, and that’s evolved over time. And so it isn’t visual studio, it is different tools, and I’m not passionate about those tools, I’m passionate about the outcomes of having conversations that lead to the opportunity to show what we can do well.


Danny:Yep. And I think one of the things that over the last couple of years with, in my evolving role and starting to do marketing things, it’s something I feel like I’m passionate about and want to learn more about. And I appreciate you created the environment here for me to branch out and try some new things. I think you’re always trying to tune into what gets people really motivated and trying to create the situation where they can go after something. I think this has a lot to do with as well, our first podcast was a roles versus responsibilities and the whole titles, I guess it was more like titles versus responsibilities. And something where people want to carve out something and go after something and creating that type of environment as opposed to I’m doing something because I have this title.


Tommy:Right, yeah and probably the thing that might be my favorite thing to do here at ThreeWill is the culture, and doing things that impact the culture and keep the culture healthy and alive and so the people aspect of understanding what people are passionate about and trying to get that matched up with the projects that we do and the roles that need to be played on projects. That interests me and there’s probably things I don’t need to do in my role to help those aspects of our business, but the lovely thing is we’re not forcing people into boxes where they have to stay within one container or one role and one set of responsibilities. We want people to surface up and contribute where we have need in the organization, and if they have skill and they do it with passion then we get out of the way, we let that happen.


And I think with you with the marketing side of things, you’ve got both the skill and the passion, there’s definitely the need there. So it makes it easy, it makes it where I’m not coming in and trying to give structure to you or give structure to Bruce, or give structure to anyone. Everybody is filling a role that they feel like they can do and they’re passionate about it, and that just makes an environment that it’s easier to say I want to get up in the morning because we’re individually making choices to want to contribute.


And I was having an interview yesterday, and it’s very weird that I’m looking for an executive assistant, it doesn’t seem like I should have an executive assistant. But that’s the title that people use out in the world and what I’m looking for is someone that’s passionate about organizing around email and counter appointments and scheduling things, and they get a kick out of it. And they happen to have a title in this world of executive assistant. I might come up with a new title for that but as we’re searching, that’s the role that we’re looking for. And you know it’s one of those things that… Actually I’m losing track of my thought there, but…


Danny:I guess along with that, how do you, because you were talking about this earlier, how do you find when we’re interviewing people, what’s sort of the way that we find out they’re passionate about, really passionate about, because the typical person coming in for a job, you say I’m passionate about doing this. How do you really find that out?


Tommy:You reminded me of what I was trying to lead it to, but since we kind of let them know what’s important for them to realize is it relates to our culture and what’s going to make them successful, and I said we’re an environment that it’s great that we encourage self motivated people, and we provide a lot of freedom, we don’t put people in boxes. But then there’s people that want to have those boxes, the people that want that structure, and that can be very stressful, very difficult to work in an environment like that. So I’ve indicated to people, if you want to have that structure, that’s not bad, I mean that’s just the way you want to have your work environment set up.


In here, we’re attracting people that are self motivated people. And to be in the business of consulting, I think that’s the right thing to do. I think we have to have an environment that we’re allowing people to use their creativity to solve the problem in the most effective way. And along the way there is structure, there’s the structure of choosing what technologies we’re going to use, what types of projects we go after, there’s plenty of natural structure there. But for the individual’s potential to contribute. You know if someone comes in as an executive assistant and they’re doing some junior sales type work, if they have the passion and the skill to do that and we find we don’t have as many people as we need to be doing that, we’re not going to stop you from helping at that level.


So you know, for some people that’s awesome. I can learn some new things, I’m not going to be stuck only being able to schedule appointments and follow up on email, but I can do some other things that will help me grow. So I think that’s a benefit but also for some people it can be a drawback, of I don’t want to come into work not knowing what I’m going to do next. And that’s a valid thing to be concerned about but as a person that’s got a lot of self initiative, they like having that open space to be able to create what do I want to do next?


Danny:Well I think there is diversity in the types of things people are passionate about, and it has to do with, some people might be… You know we always joke around with Linda, she would be really excited to be a collector of money at the toll booth, that would make her excited because of the structure that’s a part of that. Now that would drive me nuts. To do the same thing over and over again. But you have to recognize I think there’s diversity in what people are passionate about. That what gets them up in the morning is different for you than what it is for me. And I think trying to create this organization, you’re trying to find different people and their passions, and putting them in… Because there are some things that just need to be done and require a lot of structure to get them done. And finding the right people to go into those positions is part of our role and part of what we need to do to create a diverse team at ThreeWill.


Tommy:Right and I think that organization structure, you know, working on accounts payable, receivable, some of the HR things. And this executive assistant role, it requires a lot of structure. I think the thing that’s nice about a Linda, a Jan, a Barbra, they’re naturally wanting to create that structure. And you know for Linda, from day one, she’s just taken things and gone after them and created the structure she needs around her to be able to get her job done well.


So I think the thing that I was trying to emphasize the other day was you might go into a big corporate environment and there’s high structure for what your role is, and what you’re allowed to do. And at the end of the day we try to provide the ability, for a lot of people, to not be pigeon holed into one type of role and responsibility, but to be able to explore others. And as a company we do have structure, from an agile process, from templates for estimation. And I don’t think we get rid of structure as it relates to the processes and how we get business done. I mean that’s so important. I mean that’s kind of the theme aspect of what we do, is the day to day things, that we don’t want to reinvent the wheel with certain things because AutoTask is wherever we’re putting our time. You know we’re not trying to reinvent that all the time, we’re trying to create structure around that so people know what to do for some of those mechanical things.


I think what we try to do to create some freedom is around how you contribute within that whole mechanism of what we do as a business and allowing people to say okay today, yeah all the time people look at me as an infrastructure engineer, maybe I want to try development or people look at me as a sales person, maybe I want to try marketing. And you know, give that opportunity. And you know other companies do that, it’s quote lateral moves, within organizations. And we try to create that environment of it’s more important for you to work on what you’re passionate about than, quote, climbing the ladder. And you know being a flat organization, there’s not really much of a ladder. It’s more of what am I passionate about doing and then how can I hone that skill and get better and better at that? And we try to create that environment that you can do that.


But I think it has to come from self motivation. And probably our biggest fault is we don’t create a lot of structure to tell people what is the next step, and we got to keep that in balance. We can’t, you know, not look at ways to help people in the way they grow. I mean our sponsors I think is a way to do that, and we try to keep on top of sponsors to make sure they’re doing the reviews, and the reviews are very simple. The retrospect is asking those three questions of, what am I doing well, what can I improve and what should I stop doing, just so you can have that conversation of how can I grow? And the sponsor supports that.


Danny:Excellent. Excellent.


Yeah I think a lot of the structure for the different teams comes around the process that you use, you know the product backlog and the spreads and organizing around that. Inside this environment I think there’s a lot of self organizing teams, so Bruce works with the right teams to sort of put them together based on what the project is. And you know I see a lot of passion with you around the… You’ve always had a lot of passion around the process you used, and so the process drives out structure for us. Especially on projects. That’s always been there and something I’ve seen that you really enjoy doing. I think that there’s a lot of… I think bringing in somebody to help out with some of the administrative things around sales is just… We’re all encouraging you to do that because it just helps you scale and helps out, I think, overall. Some of these responsibilities will be handed off to somebody else but for the meantime you’ve got a lot on your shoulders and so having somebody else come and take the weight off of that, really is something I appreciate you looking into.


Tommy:Sure. Yeah it’ll be a journey.


Danny:That it will. What kind of socks have you got on? Anything special today?


Oh those are nice.


Tommy:Little stripes.


Danny:Yeah little stripes never hurt anybody.


Tommy:They change colors as they go up.


Danny:Excellent, good job. Anything else before we wrap up with passion?


Tommy:I think that is it.


Danny:So we’ve covered all of our shared values. And i know one of the fun things that we’re doing is we’re just wrapping up with some design sessions around doing a blackboard or chalkboard that has our values. So we’re looking forward to getting that up on our wall in our kitchen, so that should be fun to have.


Tommy:Yeah that’s going to be nice. A good way to wrap it up.


Danny:Yeah be a good way to wrap it up and a good daily reminder as you’re grabbing some coffee, a good reminder of what our values are. I think that’s important is to have it in your physical environment as well, just reminding everybody, as a group these are the things that we truly value and these are the ways that we make decisions as a group.




Well thank you everybody for listening to this series of discussions around our shared values. Love to have a comment, if you have one, at the bottom of the blog post. Just interested to hear on your take on that and just really appreciate you listening to this series.


Take care, have a great day. Bye bye.


Tommy:Bye bye.


Danny RyanThreeWill Shared Values – Passion

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