Autonomy, mastery and purpose. To me, that was a big eye-opener when I was participating in my first ever Scrum course, even before I had any clue about what Scrum was.
It was a video shown in this class, based on a book by Daniel Pink: Drive, which would be for me a pivotal moment in my career. I thought: "wait, can we treat people in the workplace like actual human beings and still be motivated?"
Scrum was a good place to start implementing this idea. This conversational framework, with room for uncertainty and complexity, was far beyond what I had thought up until that point.
Fast forward ten years. I've grown as a person and as a professional. I'm old enough to know and have experienced money being a motivator, but not necessarily in a good way. I have experienced that indeed autonomy, mastery and purpose bring meaning to people and teams in the workspace.
So when I started SF Professionals together with Chee-Hong Hsia and Ziryan Salayi, I knew these pillars would be the driver for our organization.
Having autonomy also means we cannot dictate the principles and values the people in our organization find most valuable. And talking about that is a great way to talk about meaning and purpose.
That's why we talk a lot about values and principles in our organization. And about rules, guidelines, freedom and self-management. We try to live by them, and succeed, but also fail; and learn from our mistakes.
We will keep talking about these values and principles within SF Professionals, but it's also great to let the "outside world" see what we find important.
One Friday morning (we get together on Friday morning every other week) I took a card deck with all kinds of values printed on cards. I laid them on the table and asked everyone to find the top 6 that they would choose as most valuable to them, within the context of our organization.
We saw things like respect, reliability, solidarity, commitment, equality, justice, integrity, trust, openness, integrity, personal growth, innovation, quality, professionalism, love, originality, fun, humor and relaxation be put on the table.
Then we started looking for common ground, for patterns, for values that group together and discuss what this means for us. Sometimes asking clarifying questions like: "What does respect mean for you in practice?".
One thing I noticed that was not chosen was for instance: wealth or money (and yes it was in there). Because we understand money should be an enabler for everything you are able to do, but not be used as a monthly bribe to get you to come to do some work.
So how do these values relate to the decisions we make on a daily basis?
It translates to conversations like: "What is important when I look for an assignment? The place where we can make the most money? Or where I can grow as a human being and a professional?"
It translates to our open contract, which is the starting point of our onboarding process.
It translates into a minimum of 20 days off per year (yes you have to take time off). And into the 20% time off for personal growth and development.
The fact I've finally written this down does not mean we have our core values captured and written in stone. We will keep the conversation going, always. Because that's what transparency means to us.