When a company starts talking about values and mission statements, it makes us cringe a little. These are things that usually live in HR manuals and the occasional company-wide memo, generic values masked in corporate speak or lofty ideas that sound nice but are rarely put into practice. At Column Five, we prefer to keep it real. Everything we are, everything we do, and everything we work toward is encapsulated in our simple Five Columns: Do Good Work, Value Our Partners, Be Good to Each Other, Be Humble and Experiment Often.
The Five Columns aren’t just sentiments we mention because they sound nice; they are deeply rooted in our core and culture, practiced by each of us daily. They live on our walls, serving as a guide to keep us in check and on the right path. In the Five Columns series, we offer insight into each column. In this post, we examine our third column: Be Good to Each Other.
Each of the Five Columns lives on the walls at C5’s California headquarters.
We’re all familiar with the golden rule: Treat others how you wish to be treated. For us, that is a practice we believe in personally and professionally. It can be easier said than done. But we thrive in an environment built on transparency and mutual respect, so we constructively challenge each other to grow each and every day.
So what does Be Good to Each Other look like in practice? It’s taking the trash out, doing our own dishes, ordering a late-night pizza to keep a hardworking team fueled and creating Salad Wednesday to offset all that pizza. It means giving each other shout-outs in front of the entire company and not grinding coffee beans while someone’s on a conference call.
C5 Cofounder Jason Lankow models the donut-themed Be Good to Each Other t-shirt we gave away at SXSW 2014.
It also means acknowledging our shortcomings and keeping each other accountable through open, honest communication, whether it’s leadership admitting a mistake or an employee flagging a less-than-stellar piece of work.
Of course, it isn’t always easy or fun to address the tough stuff, but it’s important to keep us all together and committed. To make sure we can continue to Be Good to Each Other, we created a monthly “pulse check” survey that lets us anonymously rate the company’s strength and weaknesses and give candid feedback. At our monthly Town Hall meetings, we review the survey results, share our financials and chat about our challenges and successes. This type of communication creates transparency and gives us a healthy reflection of how well we’re taking care of each other—and how we can improve.
Be Good to Each Other isn’t just about C5ers, though. It’s a philosophy to guide our interactions with everyone we encounter, from vendors and office neighbors to industry colleagues and our own partners. At the end of the day, the better we take care of each other, the better we take care of the world. And that’s really what we’re here for.
Stay tuned to learn more about our next column: Be Humble.
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