Putting our values on the wall

  • April 7, 2022
  • Reading time: 2 min

Company values sometimes send a bit of a shiver down my spine. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because they are so important to get right, but so easy to get wrong. 

Most of us tend to smell corporate bullshit a mile off. We’ve all seen or heard corporate values that prompt a sardonic smile when we know the ‘truth’ of the matter doesn’t really tally. 

I once read a quote from Herb Kelleher, the late, legendary CEO of Southwest Airlines, who said:

“Culture is what people do when no one is looking.”

I use this quite a bit.

If you start with this premise, it helps you get to the real essence of what makes any company a good place to be at.

In 20 years, we have probably re-visited our values three or four times. And now, after the big couple of years we’ve had – enduring lockdowns, welcoming new team members, joining Publicis Groupe, moving into a new home – now felt like the right time to check in on those values again.

And of course, do the tricky bit of writing them down so that they feel right.

So, we ran some group sessions with everyone in the company to find out what things they loved about working here. What they had observed, and what they told their mates and loved ones about what it was really like to work at OG and what sort of behaviours they wanted to encourage in new joiners in the future.   

Here’s what they said:

  1. Be yourself: Everyone should feel safe to bring their real and authentic self to work, rather than a ‘work persona’. 
  2. Say thank you: Whether it’s a valued teammate, a colleague helping on a project, or someone who’s made our day easier, we recognise each other’s contribution every day. 
  3. Look for the laugh: During the working day, hard times, or just downstairs in our on-site pub, Octopedes always strive to have a laugh no matter what. 
  4. Stay open: To fresh ideas, to new ways of working, to challenging ourselves, and to the perspective of others. 
  5. Don’t be a dick: Kindness, decency and good manners matter more than award-worthy creative or winning a major account (although we like those too).

Whether you do or don’t like them, it doesn’t really matter, because they are real and from the heart!

And here they are as displayed and brought to life by our design studio and a few emojis!

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