The Daily Draw: Three of Pentacles

Three of Pentacles

Ready for a stand-up meeting?

Ready for a stand-up meeting?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m thinking we should have an enlarged print of this card framed and put in the lobby of the company where I work. There are a few hundred of us working on this one site, 800 or so around the world. Yet the company doesn’t have that big, impersonal feel to it. I suppose it’s Silicon Valley via Dublin in some ways. Everybody is on a first name basis from top to bottom, and any of them are just as likely to strike up a conversation with you about anything or nothing while making coffee or taking a breather out the front door. The unofficial company uniform is Jeans and jumpers.

On Monday morning’s there’s a fruit delivery, Wednesday’s it’s croissants and muffins.  The odd time there are additional treats, like the ice cream truck rolling up on a hot summer’s day. The canteen includes a pool table, a ping pong table, a foosball table and a dart board. Today we’re on a half day due to the finals for all four of those events. There will be pizza, and at two PM there’s a bus into town for a pub crawl. The company and the social club foot the bill for all of the above.

OK, that’s not specifically Three of Pentacles energy, but it does describe the kind of informal, interpersonal, team environment in which the three of pentacles energy can thrive. We get the perks because the people who provide them know that, when required, we also put in the extra effort to complete a project and do it well. We play hard, we work hard. The harder we work, the more success we bring to the company. And we’re doing alright, (he said modestly).

Most people are happy to take part in this process, while being aware there is a method to the madness. I’ve worked for a number of companies since I started doing this tech writing gig twenty years ago. In some, there were rigid rules, little social interaction, proper dress codes, internet firewalls so heavy you couldn’t read your own mail. People came in, did their jobs and went home. Beyond that they didn’t really care.

In contrast, the environment here is conducive to getting things done. People are a lot more open and honest about what they’re doing and how it’s working out. There’s more discussing, planning, analysing, etc. Sometimes it seems like the actual production part is almost secondary.

When people like the process and enjoy participating in it, they are more likely to become invested in what they are doing. (Of course, it also helps when they like the work and are good at what they do, but we’ll take that as a given here – they wouldn’t last long otherwise). When a team enjoys the process, it can mean that common goals are exactly that, not just idle talk or aspirations. People are more interested in applying their skills and talents to the best of their ability. People are more likely to take pride in their work and strive to do “the right thing”, whatever they see that as, even if it means a bit more effort on their part, or even if it means tabling a perceived necessary change to the plan that disrupts the schedule and creates the need for reprioritization, things no one enjoys doing because they cost time and money. It is still a business after all. There might be a few 50 hour weeks along the way, but the whole team is sharing the load. It’s the difference between working with people you happen to see every day, and working with your mates.

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