Valuing your ideas
thought. We believe ideas can (and do) change industries, businesses, organizations and people. And we believe that computer technology is one of the most interesting fields of new ideas. The computers that sit on our desks, buzz in our pockets, navigate our cars and connect us to each other are only beginning to remake businesses. But figuring out the best way to use them can be difficult. Figuring out how to make them work is still tough. Figuring out how to organize around them is challenging. But the value is there to be unlocked. It comes from thinking: an old fashioned, underutilized skill. This focus on ideas means we had to design Thought Ensemble very differently. Here are some of differences:
You own your ideas. To incent you to spend extra precious time developing your ideas, we decided to let you own them. When you have your brilliant idea at Thought Ensemble, we hope you’ll build it here. But if we can’t provide you what you need, we know you might find another way. We will wish you the best and help you in your new venture. (The only obvious restrictions here are work done as delivery for our clients; occasionally they may own the rights to that work--and work built as part of a Thought Ensemble team; we will all jointly own that work.)
We hire thinkers. It is uncommon to enjoy thinking—we do. We hire people who can show they’re thinking. If you haven’t created a blog, some publications or some speeches, what are you thinking? You should be doing this whether you work here or not. Come back to us when you can show that you’ve made thinking a habit. (Seriously, if you’ve made thinking and writing a habit, we’d really like to talk to you.)
ensemble. We relish those who can work in teams and we prize those who are nice. Most companies make you choose between brilliant and nice, we don’t. Ensembles are much more fun and productive when you enjoy the people. The best solutions to our clients’ problems come when we work together.
We value kindness. We are more productive when we enjoy working together. Our clients enjoy solving problems with us and that requires more than just brilliant ideas and hard work--it’s hard for them to like working with us if we are jerks. We believe in the power of our networks and the best way to improve your relationships is by being a genuinely kind and generous person. We are often called on to solve difficult organizational challenges that require a kind and considerate demeanor.
We give continuous feedback. Can you imagine if a musical ensemble or sports team waited for six months before telling each other how things were going? Traditional consulting review feedback is poor, untimely and usually a waste of time. At Thought Ensemble, we commit to giving feedback every day, after every meeting and after every deliverable. We review each other’s work thoughtfully. We offer advice and we work our best to act on the advice we receive. Our feedback process is like nothing you’ve seen before.
We think together. One of the smartest things that ensembles do is rehearse, they get together on a regular basis and work together. That is why every week, we have an “Ensemble” meeting. Different ensembles around the company meet. We debate our ideas. Delivery teams get feedback from other teams on their approach. We review blogs, we review interesting ideas, we create new ideas, we invite guests to share their perspectives. We expect you to attend (although most of our people attend from their computers . . . its all online and dogs barking in the background are permitted.)
- impact. We work hard because we love what we do. In big and in small ways, we impact our clients. To have a real impact, we must work hard. We expect everyone to learn to be more productive instead of just trudging through. No matter how inspired our ideas are or how friendly we are to our clients, to have an impact it always comes back to hard work.
We do what is right. We bring the most important, innovative ideas to the industries we serve. We give the best advice we can regardless of its impact on our fees. Everyone on every team for every client is obliged—not allowed, but obliged—to challenge any idea where we are not serving our clients in the best way possible.