When You Trust People, They Hold Themselves Accountable
This is the second article in a blog series in which I dived into the 5 values we established at Breathe Life. These are the values that all Breathe Life team members follow and that will be there as we hire and scale-up the company. They are our guiding set of principles as we make a hire, bring on a partner, or tackle a new project and are evaluating if it is in line with our values.
In the previous post, I detailed our first value — We are one team — and what it meant to us. You’ll remember Seb said,
We need to always remember that our technology serves people, real people, and in this regard, it needs to be relevant and accessible to all so everybody can use it and benefit from it. To do this, we need to ensure that we build a diverse team where everyone can contribute and brings a unique perspective.
This week I’m going to go through our second value — We are accountable— what it means to myself and our team and how we implement it daily.
So what exactly does We are accountable mean at Breathe Life?
Pretty much everybody understands what the word accountable means, but to us it means that we trust each other, and if we’re struggling with our work, we ask for help. Basically, we do what we say we’ll do.
This value starts before anyone joins the Breathe Life team. We have a very rigorous hiring process and one of the reasons why is because when we do hire someone, we are trusting that they are able to do the role we are hiring them for and will be accountable for that.
As JN, our Chief Operating Officer put it,
when we hire someone, they start trust positive, that’s the default. No one will ever have to earn our trust after they’ve signed an offer agreement.
Starting trust positive and being accountable means that we never micromanage, we know that team members will do strong work and deliver on time, and if they can’t, we know they will communicate this to us. We focus on the result, and not the process it took to get there.
This feeling of being accountable as a new hire is something that Rowena, our Head of Business Development, has expressed to me. She joined our team early on, right as I was rapidly ramping up our sales pipeline, and as things were getting hectic! When asked to describe how she felt at that time she said,
being invited to be part of discussions and feeling 100% trusted from day 1 empowered me with the confidence to decide what course of action our team needed to take to bring value to our potential clients and build strong partnerships. There was never a doubt in my abilities or capacities and it put me in a positive and healthy mindset that is rewarding for everyone.
We are accountable also means to communicate openly both internally and externally. These blog posts right here are a perfect example of that. We want to showcase to the world who we are, what we’re building, and why. Part of it is to be an open book, but mainly it’s so we can hold ourselves accountable.
Stay tuned later this week for the 3rd blog in this series. I’ll be digging into what We push the limits means to us.