If I sound like I’ve gone off the deep end, maybe I have, and it’s pretty awesome here! I’m working on a project in my business that’s very close to my heart- the construction of an official company culture.
I started this project with individual coffee meetings with each member of the FC staff, and asked them what they want in a company. I got a lot of great ideas and it fit with most of what I’ve been seeing and feeling is there all along. Now it’s time to make it all official and iron out some of the kinks.
The biggest theme that’s there is LOVE! People want to LOVE their job and the people they work with. They want harmony, creativity and teamwork; innovation, advancement, growth and prosperity. They want to LOVE the customers (and with our client base, that’s easy!) and they want the customers to LOVE them.
People don’t always put it in exactly those words though. It can be scary to admit. If we offer love and are rejected, it hurts and we recoil and protect ourselves next time (and often forever more!). If we ask for love and it’s not delivered, it hurts, and we learn not to ask again. Humans just tend to do that.
Another thing I see is that love is not always an easy path. We have life to deal with. And what I’m committed is building a company culture with enough love in it that we can weather the tough spots, be straight with each other and support each other in living out our dreams.
One of our store leaders told me about a small retail business she worked for a few years back that recently closed. She told me the staff saw flaws in the way it was run, and as she listed them I listened, and nodded and felt bad for everyone involved. Small businesses going bankrupt is a pretty ordinary fact of life.
Two days later I emailed her to say that I was now horrified that in that conversation I acted like it was normal. What I saw is that we can create a different world- an extraordinary one that doesn’t need to have this happen. There was some kind of breakdown (one that seem to happen too often when things fall apart) where the staff thought things should be different but didn’t feel powerful enough to talk to the owners of the store, or they tried and the owners didn’t listen – who knows exactly what happened. The customers also may not have complained, or requested what changes they wanted.
And in the end everyone loses; jobs lost, a business bankrupt and a community less vibrant.
Something ordinary played out. And it will again tomorrow in another small business. And the next day and the next.
What I’m committed to building into the culture at Fresh Collective is a love and a listening that will allow us all to avoid the fate of most small businesses. Together we’re building an extraordinary company; one where we love each other enough to voice concerns and listen to them. One where we take action to build a future together that includes growth and prosperity for Fresh Collective and the designers we work with. And we’ll do that through just being awesome for our customers and being easy for you to love.
I LOVE my amazing and passionate co-workers who challenge themselves everyday to bring us all excellent work. I LOVE the brave and creative designer/entreprenuers who choose to work with us to showcase their products and build their businesses with us.
And I LOVE YOU, dear customers. You have stuck with us through growing pains and changes and loved us enough to continue to shop with us, to request new things as your needs change and to complain when we let you down.