A while back, we started growing.
It’s gradually become more and more obvious, so we get asked about it a little more. So, without crowing, we thought we’d quietly update our community on where we’re at, and also give some thought about why ‘growth’ is at the very core of how we think about everything.
The Newsy Piece
Yes, we’re growing. We’ve now opened offices in Sydney, Adelaide, the USA, Canberra, and now Brisbane. In just four and a half years in business, that’s pretty cool. This month, we’re also moving our USA office from Philadelphia (which we LOVE) to New York City (which we love just as much).
And all that is absolutely due to our phenomenal community – clients, team and everyone who has supported us.
Thank you! So much! Each and every one of you! THANK YOU!
We’re going to keep doing that and look forward to you continuing to share in our journey. It’s funny how the word ‘journey’ has become seen as corny, when it really is the perfect word for this adventure of building and growing a business. A business is a community, and a journey, not an inanimate market cap value.
But it’s not just a business we’re talking about. It’s an idea. So, let’s talk about that.
The Idea Piece
Our idea was that the way we were thinking about work, people and culture, wasn’t working particularly well, and frankly, wasn’t changing fast enough.
So our idea: Pop the old way of working in palliative care, and build new ways.
New conversations around people (and how we understand and appreciate all the diversity that comes within the human race); new conversations around inclusion (and moving to Belonging, so individually our identity can be celebrated, and collectively we can impact each other positively and consciously); and new conversations about culture and leadership (so we can stop purely measuring individuals and start to measure and genuinely understand our impact on others).
The Research, Data and Tech Piece
Then we took that idea and built a whole bunch of research (thank you to our academic partners), data and tech (thank you to our tech team for making our ideas work!). We built new ways to understand and talk about Identity, Belonging, and connection. That combination is a whole new way to understand organisational culture and leadership, and how to improve it, leverage it, and develop better ways. And we case studied and measured it over time, and here we are.
And that’s behind our growth. Pure and simple.
There are two mantras behind start-ups. 1) Loan heaps of money and try not to burn through it too fast, before the next ‘investment’. And 2) know your competitors and beat them!
We ignored both mantras and have done neither. Instead, we built the business on a good idea, doing our best work, and reinvesting everything we had in to continually growing our ideas, our team, our clients, and our community. And we have never competed, even when others have competed against us. And our crazy non-formula is working.
Now, when we look at our ‘growth,’ we know that its deep in our values, and absolutely foundational to how we think about everything.
The way work is working now isn’t working, how can we do better?
And that brings me to a funny story about family therapy and football.
The Funny Family Therapy and Football Story
In family therapy, there’s a belief that how you grow up stamps you into a way of being. You learn some awesome habits from your Mum and Dad, and some shockers, and they both lock in pretty tight. They become your pattern of being – how you come at the world.
Unless you choose to challenge them.
Here’s the football story.
In any family, you’re born into a position. You’re born into fullback, deep in defence, bolstering up the family if everything goes wrong. Or, you’re born captain, telling everyone what to do. Or, you’re the centre half-forward, kicking goals and taking glory.
In a healthy family, the fullback grows up and asks if they can move to full-forward for a season. ‘Fullback has been fun, but I’d like a turn at kicking goals’. And your family full-forward says ‘Awesome. I was tired of being up in the bright lights, and I’m keen to get amongst it on the wing’. And you all change position and support each other to learn and play a new game. Maybe a better game.
In an unhealthy family, you’re told to get back to fullback and keep quiet. Appreciate that you came in as fullback, and that is where you should stay for life.
And that’s brings us to a story of life.
The story of life
In life, every living thing needs to move and grow to thrive. From a starfish, to a giraffe, to a human. We all need to grow and move and stretch and be different than we were yesterday.
We talk about the growth mindset, curiosity, and the possibility of endless potential, but it is so true! There’s a reason why the people who adopt those mindsets are happier and more open to possibility, and do find new ways to grow through life. It’s because they wake up to do that. Wherever they are – good, bad or different – the possibility to be better is just a step away. Not always easy, but possible.
My favourite quote about this is one from an incredibly cool Paediatric Neurologist we worked with in the Autism community in Chicago. Sitting in the lecture for trainee Specialist Neurologists, and a handful of carefully chosen parents (including us), he said “When you wonder about how much we can do, think of this: We fully understand just 8% of the human brain. And I assume as we learn more, it might be less than 8%. But even at 8%, imagine the possibilities of the other 92%”.
What an excellent way to think about unlimited human potential.
And that brings us to one of our favourite words.
Straight from the Urban Dictionary, Sonder means “that every person has a life as complicated and important as yours”.
And that is foundational to our business.
That every person can – and should – grow and expect to grow.
That ideas and work can get bigger and better. Challenges and ground-breaking thinking can come from anywhere, and that expansion can come from everywhere – our team (new or old), from our clients (new or old), from our community, or even from competitors.
We’re trying to change a way of working that wasn’t working for most of us. We’re surrounded by a team and a community who sign up to help us.
This has always been a journey shared by so many, and we’re excited to continue on this wild old ride with all of you!
Thank you and I’ll leave you with two thoughts to get you thinking about growth…
“It’s hard to do a really good job on anything you don’t think about in the shower.” — Paul Graham
“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”
— Henry Ford