Every year, we get the whole team together in one place for a week that is referred to as our ‘strategy week’. Unfortunately due to COVID-19, the last time we were all able to come together in one place for this was in 2019. Typically it is both a time for staff to contribute to the company goals and focus, as well as a rare opportunity for our remote teams to all meet face to face as a single cohort. This year we still thought it was important for us to all ‘come together’ (even if not in a literal sense) and work as a team on a review and rejuvenation of our company values.
We still think that our ‘old’ values will have importance in the way we deliver our services, but think they can also be encapsulated by our new values. A sneak peak of the 5 values we will be moving forward with at Gaia Resources:
- Do the right thing
- Be open
- Be involved
- Do what you said you’ll do
- Be there for each other
It was really valuable to workshop these values with the team and realise that, while we haven’t always phrased them this way, these are really values that we can see being lived by the team already. We take our work very seriously, and we want our values to reflect how we operate as an organisation; our behaviour towards our clients and each other, and the culture we create for our team.
Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash
Aside from the values themselves, there were two things that I personally got from the session. One was simply the chance to spend time reflecting with colleagues on what can be taken from their perspectives and thoughts on how to best strengthen the values we hold at Gaia Resources.The other was the realisation that, even though we have phrased them differently previously, we are already living by the new values.
Do the right thing
Here at Gaia Resources, a big part of our ethos is the desire to make the world a better place. We want to acknowledge that in everything we do – from reviewing potential work to ensure that it contributes to that, to approaching client relationships remembering that we are there to deliver what they need and solve problems for them. We know that a part of that is delivering what they paid for, but it is also making sure that we as individuals are doing work we can be proud of into the future.
“Do the right thing” can come across as an open-ended instruction, but a part of that is because we feel it is something that should be an inherent aspect of everything we do.
From a practical standpoint, this value can be seen already through our approach to our work itself. From sharing data (where appropriate) and our focus on open source solutions, to the fact that we approach client relationships as a collaboration. So much of what we do can only work effectively if we create open and effective communication from the outset of the relationship.
Internally, we also try to foster an environment where team members can be proactive about raising issues and constructively work with each other to solve problems. We know it is also important to foster a trusting environment where everyone knows that being able to flag and acknowledge if they are struggling can help us to provide a culture that fosters solutions.
Part of what makes Gaia Resources successful is the strengths of our diverse staff. This only works if our team members are engaged with what we do and are proactive in finding ways to contribute to the organisation and to solutions for our clients.
Do what you said you’ll do
For each other and our clients, it is important that we deliver what we have committed to. Sometimes this means not committing to work if we know it is beyond our capacity. We want to be part of the solution, for our clients and for each other. If we cannot realistically deliver this, we want to make sure that we make clear what we can do from the very beginning.
Be there for each other
None of what we did would make sense if we didn’t make sure to help out and do what we can to support our colleagues. Sometimes this might mean jumping in and helping out on a task when you know you can and someone has a tight deadline. Other times it is noticing when they are struggling and just asking how they are. One of the most interesting things that came out of our discussion around this value was that it is important to make sure you not only offer help, but that you ask for it. You cannot create an environment where people are comfortable to reach out for help if we always see ourselves as the ones offering it. Trying to be ‘strong’ doesn’t provide a culture where everyone knows and acknowledges that it is ok to not be ok.
I have to say that while I missed the opportunity to meet some of my colleagues in person, I still appreciated the chance to hear from the team on how they see our values being lived, and what more we can do to embed them in our lives every day. Perhaps because we are so used to being solutions-driven, but it was really great to see that when we discussed the challenges of ‘living’ these values, there was a real focus on how we can do better.