You’re hired, but first, some rules.
For years, Fohr Card was less than 5 people. This meant that every single employee we had was trained by either Rich or myself. They sat next to us, drank with us, walked with us, saw our fights, shared our wins. They were an extension of our own brains and they ended up being pretty damn good at their jobs. Then, as we started to grow beyond our small core, we felt it necessary to get down on paper a kind of manifesto of values, belief, culture and conduct. We call the resulting document “A Preamble to Your Success” and it has a number of influences from people smarter than myself (some are just straight lifted from Ben Horowitz) and was collaborative with our existing employees from the start. We make every new hire, even part timers, sign this document alongside their offer letter.
I believe it is vitally important to let new employees know the kind of people you expect them to be, before you tell them problems you want them to solve. Otherwise you might find they solve them in a way that goes against your core values.
- Ask for forgiveness, not permission. We hired you because we like the way your brain works, please do take the time to use it.
- If you’re stuck on a problem, don’t just stare at your computer. Rich takes a nap, James takes a walk. You take whatever you need.
- Get a life and keep it. We are a tight knit group here, but it is important that you continue to develop and grow outside of work and your work life. If we can be of any assistance in helping you pursue a passion, we will do so within reasonable terms.
- A brain, no matter how big, cannot solve a problem it doesn’t know about. If you think we are fucking something up, please don’t keep that to yourself.
- Work with trust. As a small business with big goals, this is of paramount importance to us. Without it, communication breaks and things fall apart. When we trust each other, we can trust that our individual actions all work towards the same shared goals.
- Bad news first. If something is going wrong in your department, please share that bad news more quickly than you would good news.
- Execute, execute, execute. We will win this market by a long series of small moves and advancements. Some will fail, some will succeed. It’s important that we are trying little things everyday on the way to success.
- We take care of our people, our products and our profits in that order.
- We curse in the office, we play loud music and sometimes we drink whiskey before 5PM. We don’t expect everyone to do this, but it is something that won’t change.
- Don’t quit. We are a tenacious bunch, and at times reaching your goal or pushing the product out might seem unobtainable. Maybe it is. Failing is OK, quitting is not. Quitters will be asked to leave immediately.
- Respect the space. You don’t have to wear a suit or a dress everyday, but we expect you to dress professionally. Keep t-shirts, sandals, polar fleeces and hats to a minimum. If you wear sweatpants to work, you are going home.
- We don’t judge people by any one individual failure, so please limit your excuses. Be honest of your failings and work with your colleagues and manager to gure out how to avoid future failures.
- Write it down. Have a suggestion for a feature, sales strategy, or partnership? Lay it out and detail what would need to happen to get it done. Respect your co-workers’ time by spending yours to fully consider your ideas.
- Respect our community. Have an issue with someone in our community? Keep it to yourself. We won’t be seen to make fun of the people who make this company a reality.
- Know when to speak, know when to listen and know when to do.
- Be visible within the community. Go to drinks, organize dinners, meet some of the incredible people that work in this industry and befriend them.
- We don’t tolerate assholes. Difficult, fair. Demanding, yes. Assholes? No.
- Celebrate individualism. The city and this company are full of weirdo’s, so let your freak flag fly.
- We hired you for the person you are but expect you to become more than that, in turn, you should expect us to provide the challenges neeed to promote that growth.
- Assume the best, prepare for the worst. Believe that everything we do is going to be successful, but have a plan for what happens if it’s not.
- Easy to be critical, harder to be helpful. When you have a problem or critique work to help fix it, not belittle it.
- Work to understand what it is your co-workers do.
- Inside or outside of the office, when asked how you are, do not answer “busy”. Boring people are busy. Good people are excited.