How I spend my days, or in other words: why company values matter

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”

Annie Dillard, The Writing Life

Most of us will spend a significant number of our days (and a substantial part of our life) at work, an average of 90,000 hours(!) over our lifetime. That’s a lot of time – so it’s no wonder we keep asking ourselves, are we happy with where we spend a large majority of our life…

It’s no secret that the companies we work for, the jobs we have and the people we work with can impact many aspects of our life: from the most important things like our relationships and our well-being… to the most mundane, like our mood when we walk in the door after a long day…  

So how do we choose the company we spend all those hours working for? For many of us, there are a number of factors that ultimately impact that decision. Similar to our personal lives, where we often choose our friends and significant others by the values we have in common, values are what connect us to our job as well.

I recently joined BigPanda, the leader in Autonomous Operations, where we spent a great deal of time defining our company values. The values were finalized and launched last year, and really hit home for me personally as well as professionally. I’m happy to say, they aren’t just words on a paper or in a PowerPoint presentation: they are at the heart of what makes BigPanda, well…BigPanda.  They impact how we behave with one another and with our customers.  And, befitting their spirit, they spell out HEART 🙂

H – Highly Driven-  Drive comes from within and is what often separates those who succeed from those who don’t.  Let’s face it, we all fail. We lose a deal, miss an opportunity, get shut out of a prospect. And if we’re not failing pretty often, we’re not trying hard enough.  I find that driven people are those who are motivated by failing, who pivot and keep pushing past every single thing until they succeed. Pandas are some of the most motivated and driven people I’ve ever had the privilege to work with – it’s why I love working here and I’m truly better because of it.

E – Excellence- This one may seem obvious. Of course, we all want to be excellent and do excellent work.  But, deadlines, emails, presentations, phone calls, etc. often get in the way.  We’re all “swamped”, “busy”, and excellence can easily be missed in an effort to just get something done and run to the next meeting. I recently had a customer ask to be ‘wow’ed.  A reminder that pushing past what’s expected or even what’s good is a mark of excellence. Excellence isn’t easy or convenient, but it will separate those who still strive for it from those who don’t.  

A – Active Transparency – Transparency in our relationships, personal and professional, make them worth having.  And, if we aren’t transparent with our colleagues and customers, we lose their trust. Authenticity and transparency are real at BigPanda.  We leave meetings and pause to talk about what was good, what wasn’t, and how we can get better next time. This feedback makes us better. And the vulnerability allows us to be open, grow, and improve.    

R – Relentless Focus – We can all be pulled in so many different directions.  Focusing on what matters and what moves the needle is key. I’ve learned, (often as the result of doing the opposite) that it is not only ok, but also vital to say ‘no’ to the things that just take up space and aren’t important.  To focus on what matters. And, to take action when we have enough data or background information. Not to get paralyzed with waiting for perfection.

T – Treasure the Journey – This is one of my favorites and I need to remind myself of this often. Especially in sales when we are driven by numbers and quotas. Take the time to celebrate the wins along the way.  Build relationships. At the end of the day, we’re all human. One of the best parts about working at BigPanda is the people I work with each and every day and the incredible journey we are all on together.

If we put enough thought into defining them, and then make sure we live by them, company values do matter. They can actually make all the difference.