Every couple of years we come up with a theme here at Tech Soft 3D. We do this to help us focus on something that is particularly important for us to pay special attention to at a point in time as we grow. We do this because it helps us to strengthen some ‘organizational muscles’ that we will be exercising extensively during this next growth phase.
Our last theme was “stick the landing”, which helped us focus on getting the little details right on projects. The idea was modeled after the meaning in sports. For example, in gymnastics, figure skating, freestyle skiing – or any sport where your feet leave the ground, judges don’t give you full credit for a triple flip if you fall down on the landing. As such, it’s important to not only get things ‘mostly right’, but to focus on the little details and see things through to the end. Now we regularly hear our team members saying things like, “what little things will we need to do to stick the landing on this project?”, which is how we know that this has become an organizational habit.
Mission accomplished – that sentiment will continue to be part of our mindsets moving forward – so it’s on to a new theme.
In 2019 our theme is “3 Rings, 1 Circus”. We chose that because we knew, as we continue to grow, that we need to push back hard against the forces that could cause us to begin to operate less like one team and more like groups of people operating in independent teams (silos), all working hard, but not necessarily seeing themselves as part of one greater whole. We want to reinforce the idea that we are not on separate teams. Rather, we’re all on sub-teams of one larger team (all under one circus tent). This is particularly important for us because, while we’re a relatively small company (100+ people), we’re dispersed between global offices in different parts of the USA, France, Germany, UK, Japan and Korea.
In 2018 we started to see some signs that our tightly unified concept of “team” was beginning to come under some strain. I suppose it’s natural since we’ve grown quite a bit in recent years and have people spread across different continents. In addition, as we grow, jobs are increasingly specialized, so one person’s work may not always seem particularly closely connected to another’s work.
We wanted to aggressively turn this trend around to remind everyone about what ties us together – our common core values, our common mission to Fuel Innovation, and our common vision of what it means to work together to build an enduringly great company.
We could have chosen some drab wording to capture this such as ‘unify’ or ‘one team’, and to be honest, our first efforts to name this theme led us in that direction, but ultimately these phrases just didn’t feel like us. They were too corporate, not particularly fun, and not irreverent enough for our taste.
With a little creative thought, we came up with “3-Rings, 1-Circus”. You may have noticed that our logo has 3-Rings, so that part is pretty obvious. We also like the circus analogy for a few reasons. One is that a circus (especially the 3-Ring variety) can seem pretty hectic at times – with a lot going on. Yes, work is like that sometimes around here! However, a 3-Ring Circus is also thrilling, entertaining, and upon close inspection it’s clear that the circus only succeeds because of a symphony-like coordination.
A circus also succeeds because of the work of many different kinds of people doing very different kinds of jobs – each one of them critical to the show. The trapeze artists do their thing, as do the animal trainers, clowns, popcorn sellers, ring master, etc. These are the people that are part of the show, but there are also those who hammer in the stakes that hold the tent up, the people following behind the elephants to clean up, those who care for the animals, etc. You get the idea. There are many jobs that go into a successful circus performance, and for a great circus, everyone needs to do their job well – and to appreciate the jobs others do as well.
Of course, any organization is like this and it’s no different here at Tech Soft 3D. We have different jobs; software development, QA, financial operations, business systems, support, CEO, partner development, marketing – with us all part of the same team trying to create an enduring company that makes great products, takes great care of our partners and succeeds. We all have our job to do – our way to contribute to the success of the entire circus and to operate (to borrow and modify a subtitle from Ringling Bros.) like “the greatest team on earth”.