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The Tao of DT: Running A Business on Culture

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A month ago, we asked ourselves a very specific question: "Can we run our business solely by our culture?"

Our answer: A very enthusiastic, "Yes!"

Since we started as a two-friend company, Digital Telepathy has always been known for our unique culture. As we’ve grown, friends and colleagues have warned us about the difficulty of maintaining great culture.

In the last two years, we’ve organically increased our headcount by 166 percent, and yet, we’ve found a way to improve our culture in the process. We did this by putting our tribe first before growth and by making sure we found the right people before adding any business. We turned down plenty of opportunities, but preserved our culture and scaled the right way. Hopefully our experiences inspire you to power your business by putting your people and culture first.

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The Tao of DT: Running A Business on Culture

  1. THE TAO OF DT
  2. THE TAO OF DT THE TAO OUR NOBLE CAUSE OUR CRAFT OUR CULTURE AND VALUES WE ARE A TRIBE CAT 03 17 29 39 116 128 02
  3. THE TAO OF DT DT’S PURPOSE To create happiness for ourselves and the people around us by infusing life’s experiences with our passions. Our accomplishments are defined by the experiences we design and the impact we make on the world around us. Our No.1 priority is our people, so everything we do is rooted in our culture. 03
  4. THE TAO OF DT WHAT IS THE TAO? A way to use our culture to guide our journey of happiness and accomplishing great things. 04 In Chinese, Tao means way or path. It’s pronounced, “zh- dáo,” or “dow.” We refer to it as our group of principles; it is not related to the philosophy of Taoism. We chose Tao because it’s more unique than “way” or “path.” After this presentation, when you hear or say “Tao,” it will have a greater depth of meaning.
  5. THE TAO OF DT 05 WHY WE MADE THE TAO Our culture has never been written down. Half of the Tao is ancient DT history and demonstrates the beliefs DT was founded upon, the tough times we have persevered and the breakthroughs we have made. A walk down memory lane...
  6. THE TAO OF DT 06WHY WE MADE THE TAO When Arnold and Chuck started their first business together at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 1997 2000 2002 2007 2010 201220092005 When Bill and Chuck moved to California and worked from a boat in Mexico for a year. When we stopped all services and focused only on UX design. When Chuck moved to San Francisco, and Dave, David, Jess and Dan stepped up as leaders. When Bill and Chuck first went to Burning Man When when we almost closed our doors and the team stuck together (Dave, John, Arnold and Chuck are still here) When we transitioned to the subscription model. When Laurence came on board and we scaled to who we are today.
  7. THE TAO OF DT 07WHY WE MADE THE TAO We are a 14-year-old company, but 50 percent of the company has been here for 18 months or less. You have all contributed to the direction of our noble cause, craft and values. We’ve talked about tribal leadership, we are now choosing our tribe. The other half is from the new wave of DT.
  8. THE TAO OF DT WHY WE MADE THE TAO What we want to accomplish together is aspirational. Since we’ve never defined or written down our values or mission, we weren’t able to set clear expectations, or achieve complete alignment on who we are collectively and how to channel our culture towards a shared vision. 08
  9. THE TAO OF DT We want to uplevel ourselves in order to break the pull of gravity and do amazing things in the world. Move from great websites to impacting people’s lives. In order to do so, we are making a statement of what we expect from each other, how we work best together to pursue our dreams and accomplishments while preserving our culture. This is no different than when we evolved to a UX only company or shifted to the OBD/subscription business model. It was scary at first, but we prevailed, and set a new standard for agency/client partnerships. Remember that most of this is based on what we all discussed together. If something doesn’t feel good to you, bring it up - no hiding out. 09WHY WE MADE THE TAO
  10. THE TAO OF DT We want to uplevel ourselves in order to break the pull of gravity and do amazing things in the world. Move from great websites to impacting people’s lives. In order to do so, we are making a statement of what we expect from each other, how we work best together to pursue our dreams and accomplishments while preserving our culture. This is no different than when we evolved to a UX only company or shifted to the OBD/subscription business model. It was scary at first, but we prevailed, and set a new standard for agency/client partnerships. Remember that most of this is based on what we all discussed together. If something doesn’t feel good to you, bring it up - no hiding out. 10WHY WE MADE THE TAO
  11. THE TAO OF DT We want to uplevel ourselves in order to break the pull of gravity and do amazing things in the world. Move from great websites to impacting people’s lives In order to do so, we are making a statement of what we expect from each other, how we work best together to pursue our dreams and accomplishments while preserving our culture. This is no different than when we evolved to a UX-only company or shifted to the Objective- Based Design and subscription-based business model. It was scary at first, but we prevailed and set a new standard for agency/client partnerships. Remember that most of this is based on what we all discussed together. If something doesn’t feel good to you, bring it up - no hiding out. 11WHY WE MADE THE TAO
  12. THE TAO OF DT We want to uplevel ourselves in order to break the pull of gravity and do amazing things in the world. Move from great websites to impacting people’s lives In order to do so, we are making a statement of what we expect from each other, how we work best together to pursue our dreams and accomplishments while preserving our culture. This is no different than when we evolved to a UX only company or shifted to the OBD/subscription business model. It was scary at first, but we prevailed, and set a new standard for agency/client partnerships Remember, most of this is based on what we all discussed together. If something doesn’t feel good to you, bring it up: no hiding out. 12WHY WE MADE THE TAO
  13. THE TAO OF DT Noble Cause Craft Culture & Values 13 WHAT MAKES UP THE TAO OF DT Our Tao is built on three parts of a whole. 1 2 3
  14. THE TAO OF DT This is the target of our highest aspirations and accomplishments. It’s where we are going and what gets us out of bed every day. It’s our dent in the universe, the legacy we are proudly building. It’s what we strive for together. It directs our journey and generates happiness, regardless of success. 14 WHAT MAKES UP THE TAO OF DT 1 Noble Cause 2 Craft 3 Culture & Values
  15. THE TAO OF DT It’s what we do everyday. Our labor of love. Our special formula of work that sets us apart and guides us on how we can make an impact and accomplish our noble cause. Our craft represents the passions of our life’s work and its output, which people pay us to produce for them. It’s our art and usefulness to the world. It’s our filter to concentrate our daily and big-picture focus. 15 WHAT MAKES UP THE TAO OF DT 1 Noble Cause 2 Craft 3 Culture & Values
  16. THE TAO OF DT Culture is the foundation of DT and all decisions flow through it. It’s what makes us completely unique to any other business in the world. Culture is made up of values that define our day-to-day behavior. It’s our collective and internal drive that powers us. Since DT values reflect our personal values, it’s a sustainable resource that should never run out and instead, just grow. 16 WHAT MAKES UP THE TAO OF DT 1 Noble Cause 2 Craft 3 Culture & Values
  17. THE TAO OF DT NOBLE CAUSE Simply put, this is our WHY. 17 Over the last year, we were able to cull down the sentiment of our noble cause with the following phrases: We want to make a powerful impact on ourselves, our team, our customers, their users and the world. We believe that life is good, yet we are compelled to seek richer, more engaging experiences. To create a life of growth and happiness for everyone. We combined this sentiment into four words... 1 2
  18. THE TAO OF DT
  19. THE TAO OF DT Most companies start with “To” as a way to inspire action. Well, we aren’t most companies, and “We” symbolizes that we do it together. In addition, we are accomplishing our noble cause right now, and not in some far-off, distant future. 19 OUR NOBLE CAUSE EXPLAINED We Elevate Life’s Experiences
  20. THE TAO OF DT We wanted our verb to relate to betterment, not just design, as betterment is our process and design is our tool. We wanted to aspire past minor improvements, so we chose to use elevate to aspire to taking things to another level and raising the bar. 20 OUR NOBLE CAUSE EXPLAINED We Elevate Life’s Experiences
  21. THE TAO OF DT We want to impact people on both a big and small basis. It’s difficult to measure if we are impacting the world, but life is all around us. It’s both big and small as it symbolizes putting a smile on someone’s face, or impacting their life in general. 21 OUR NOBLE CAUSE EXPLAINED We Elevate Life’s Experiences
  22. THE TAO OF DT Experiences are our end-product. The fabric of life is made up of moments that we have the pleasure of making better. 22 OUR NOBLE CAUSE EXPLAINED We Elevate Life’s Experiences
  23. THE TAO OF DT 23 THE NOBLE CAUSE IN ACTION In order to succeed, we have to nurture a culture that wants to play a part in elevating people’s experiences and making things better. It starts with creating the habit of elevating the experiences within DT to empower our team and then elevating the experiences of our clients and their users. It then extends beyond what we do today, when we then ask ourselves “How do we craft the best life experiences for the world?” 05 World 04 Their Users 03 Customers & Users 02 DT Tribe 01 You 05 04 03 02 01
  24. THE TAO OF DT 24 THE NOBLE CAUSE IN ACTION How can I elevate my own experience at DT? 05 World 04 Their Users 03 Customers & Users 02 DT Tribe 01 You 01
  25. THE TAO OF DT 25 THE NOBLE CAUSE IN ACTION How can we make the experience of being on our team first-class? 05 World 04 Their Users 03 Customers & Users 02 DT Tribe 01 You 02 01
  26. THE TAO OF DT 26 THE NOBLE CAUSE IN ACTION How can our client experience keep getting better? How do we inspire anyone that reads our blog, or uses our products? 05 World 04 Their Users 03 Customers & Users 02 DT Tribe 01 You 03 02 01
  27. THE TAO OF DT 27 THE NOBLE CAUSE IN ACTION How can our design positively impact its users? 05 World 04 Their Users 03 Customers & Users 02 DT Tribe 01 You 04 03 02 01
  28. THE TAO OF DT 28 THE NOBLE CAUSE IN ACTION How can we create powerful experiences for enough users that it impacts the world? 05 World 04 Their Users 03 Customers & Users 02 DT Tribe 01 You 05 04 03 02 01
  29. THE TAO OF DT CRAFT The Noble Cause is what we aspire to accomplish. Our values flavor our culture. Our culture defines our brand and the unique way we do things. Our craft is the magic formula that glues the two together. Simply put, it’s what we do. ● It combines our passions and purpose with profits to grow our impact on the world. ● It’s our filter to concentrate our daily and big-picture focus of our products, services and what we write about. ● It’s what people pay us to produce for them. ● It’s how we generate impact and provide value to our team, clients and users. 29
  30. THE TAO OF DT
  31. THE TAO OF DT The Formula: Betterment = simple + compelling - friction 31OUR CRAFT EXPLAINED
  32. THE TAO OF DT OUR CRAFT EXPLAINED We love friction. Friction represents the potential of betterment in any of life’s experiences. It’s our job to remove or reduce friction for the people that use our design. It’s the fuel that drives our design, the North Star of our creative process. 32
  33. THE TAO OF DT OUR CRAFT EXPLAINED Simple is beautiful. We want our solutions to be simple so they benefit as many people as possible. 33
  34. THE TAO OF DT Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity. —Charles Mingus 34
  35. THE TAO OF DT OUR CRAFT EXPLAINED Compelling. In addition to simple, we’ve found if you compel people by bringing your design to life with a bit of soul, it adds meaning and sets you apart. 35
  36. THE TAO OF DT OUR CRAFT EXPLAINED Incremental improvements create exponential results. Make something better every day. 36
  37. THE TAO OF DT OUR CRAFT IN ACTION Betterment By Design is our unique process of actions. It’s rooted in our culture, creates impact through experiences and enables us to reach our noble cause. 37
  38. THE TAO OF DT OUR CRAFT IN ACTION Without our craft, our values and noble cause would just be ideas and never become experiences. 38
  39. THE TAO OF DT VALUES Core values represent our shared beliefs, guide our daily decisions and fuel our behavior. They make up the foundation of who we are and everything we do. When values are put into action, a culture forms. This culture guides the way we run our business at DT. We have seven values comprised of actionable phrases instead of individual words. 39
  40. THE TAO OF DT OUR VALUES BE DRIVEN FOR GROWTH REALIZE THE POTENTIAL IN EVERYONE AND EVERYTHING TAKE INITIATIVE TO MAKE IT BETTER CARE ABOUT YOUR CO-WORKERS, CLIENTS, AND USERS CHALLENGE THE NORM WITH SOUL BE AN OWNER CONTRIBUTE TO THE TRIBE 40
  41. THE TAO OF DT OUR VALUES BE DRIVEN FOR GROWTH REALIZE THE POTENTIAL IN EVERYONE AND EVERYTHING TAKE INITIATIVE TO MAKE IT BETTER CARE ABOUT YOUR CO-WORKERS, CLIENTS, AND USERS CHALLENGE THE NORM WITH SOUL BE AN OWNER CONTRIBUTE TO THE TRIBE 41
  42. THE TAO OF DT BE DRIVEN FOR GROWTH We exist to get better at life and make life better for other people. 42
  43. THE TAO OF DT BE DRIVEN FOR GROWTH As a member of the DT culture, you should have an ongoing desire to grow yourself and make an impact on the growth of those around you. 43
  44. THE TAO OF DT BE DRIVEN FOR GROWTH Why drive for growth? Growth is extremely important for our business as it ensures its long-term health and survival. It’s needed in order for us to become, and remain, a world-class company. We strive to be thought leaders at what we do. The secret to constant fulfillment is ongoing improvement and ability to make a difference. 44
  45. THE TAO OF DTBE DRIVEN FOR GROWTH 45 “I didn’t back away from the opportunity [to be blog editor] and decided to put my big boy pants on.” —Brent
  46. THE TAO OF DT BE DRIVEN FOR GROWTH Brent’s Story Brent recognized the opportunity to capitalize on the current blog and make it even better. He started by creating structure for increased content production. He set aggressive goals. Personally, Brent came from a corporate structure, where he learned to use goals to drive him, not stress him. 46
  47. THE TAO OF DT MORE EXAMPLES 47BE DRIVEN FOR GROWTH Brent & Dani Brent: LinkedIn velocity experiment. Dani: Introduced the concept of "mindshare" to the Strategists and it's been an amazing forum for honesty, emotional connections and solution-driven conversations in their huddles.
  48. THE TAO OF DT BE DRIVEN FOR GROWTH Ask yourself: How do I grow personally and professionally? How can I help my coworkers and clients grow? How can I make an impact on the growth of DT? 48
  49. THE TAO OF DT OUR VALUES BE DRIVEN FOR GROWTH REALIZE THE POTENTIAL IN EVERYONE AND EVERYTHING TAKE INITIATIVE TO MAKE IT BETTER CARE ABOUT YOUR CO-WORKERS, CLIENTS, AND USERS CHALLENGE THE NORM WITH SOUL BE AN OWNER CONTRIBUTE TO THE TRIBE 49
  50. THE TAO OF DT Be inquisitive. There is always more potential to unlock in ourselves and the world around us. Unlocking this potential releases growth. 50 REALIZE THE POTENTIAL IN EVERYONE & EVERYTHING
  51. THE TAO OF DT The key is to see the potential in yourself, your clients, projects, relationships, and in your surroundings, that others cannot see. 51 REALIZE THE POTENTIAL IN EVERYONE & EVERYTHING
  52. THE TAO OF DT Realizing potential empowers you to be visionary and optimistic about what’s possible. Remember, it’s not only about being aware, it’s also about causing something to happen. 52 REALIZE THE POTENTIAL IN EVERYONE & EVERYTHING
  53. THE TAO OF DT 53REALIZE THE POTENTIAL IN EVERYONE & EVERYTHING “Show, don’t tell. Make something awesome and show it to people.” —Jamie & Shawn
  54. THE TAO OF DT 54 REALIZE THE POTENTIAL IN EVERYONE & EVERYTHING Jamie & Shawn’s Story Jamie and Shawn saw the opportunity to leverage Middleman. Jamie took the idea and ran with it. When they saw the potential, Jamie customized it and shared it with the team. Its time-saving qualities were huge and the tool quickly caught fire with the dev team.
  55. THE TAO OF DT 55 MORE EXAMPLES Bradley+Bethany & Bim Bradley and Bethany: Up-leveling the DT coffee scene Bim: Whiteboard notebook REALIZE THE POTENTIAL IN EVERYONE & EVERYTHING
  56. THE TAO OF DT 56 REALIZE THE POTENTIAL IN EVERYONE & EVERYTHING Ask yourself What is my untapped potential? How can I support the potential of my team and clients? What potential can I unlock in people’s lives?
  57. THE TAO OF DT OUR VALUES BE DRIVEN FOR GROWTH REALIZE THE POTENTIAL IN EVERYONE AND EVERYTHING TAKE INITIATIVE TO MAKE IT BETTER CARE ABOUT YOUR CO-WORKERS, CLIENTS, AND USERS CHALLENGE THE NORM WITH SOUL BE AN OWNER CONTRIBUTE TO THE TRIBE 57
  58. THE TAO OF DT TAKE INITIATIVE TO MAKE IT BETTER All progress in human history has occurred because someone decided to take initiative. In other words, everything happens because of initiative, and nothing happens without it. 58
  59. THE TAO OF DT TAKE INITIATIVE TO MAKE IT BETTER Taking initiative is about being empowered to make a difference, but not being afraid to make mistakes. 59
  60. THE TAO OF DT TAKE INITIATIVE TO MAKE IT BETTER If your initiative doesn’t work, pick yourself up and try again until you make something better. 60
  61. THE TAO OF DT TAKE INITIATIVE TO MAKE IT BETTER We value the effort and intention towards betterment, not just the results. 61
  62. THE TAO OF DT TAKE INITIATIVE TO MAKE IT BETTER Initiative doesn’t require permission. 62
  63. THE TAO OF DT TAKE INITIATIVE TO MAKE IT BETTER You have so much more control over your own experiences than you think. Take the wheel. 63
  64. THE TAO OF DT 64TAKE INITIATIVE TO MAKE IT BETTER “Don’t spit out an idea and just expect it to fly. If you have an idea, run with it and see who runs with you.” —Cody
  65. THE TAO OF DT 65 TAKE INITIATIVE TO MAKE IT BETTER Cody’s Story It started with how people were sharing work and receiving feedback on work. Cody asked around and realized it wasn’t just him. He hacked PDFs to gather design feedback and quickly drew a parallel to InVision’s workflows. He started using InVision and teaching others how they could make the most of it.
  66. THE TAO OF DT 66 MORE EXAMPLES Birman+Jimmy+Jess+Maurice & Jamie+Chuck Birman, Jimmy, Maurice & Jess: Office rearranging Jamie & Chuck: Reducing staff emails and improving sharing of information through G+ Community TAKE INITIATIVE TO MAKE IT BETTER
  67. THE TAO OF DT 67 TAKE INITIATIVE TO MAKE IT BETTER Ask yourself What am I making better for myself, my clients and our company? What am I making better every day? Am I willing and able to take action on my ideas?
  68. THE TAO OF DT OUR VALUES BE DRIVEN FOR GROWTH REALIZE THE POTENTIAL IN EVERYONE AND EVERYTHING TAKE INITIATIVE TO MAKE IT BETTER CARE ABOUT YOUR COWORKERS, CLIENTS AND USERS CHALLENGE THE NORM WITH SOUL BE AN OWNER CONTRIBUTE TO THE TRIBE 68
  69. THE TAO OF DT It’s more than just having lunch, getting coffee and being friendly. It’s truly connecting, building trust and being highly dependable to everyone: your team, customers and community. 69 CARE ABOUT YOUR CO-WORKERS, CLIENTS AND USERS
  70. THE TAO OF DT We are humans. Be empathetic and treat others like humans. 70 CARE ABOUT YOUR CO-WORKERS, CLIENTS AND USERS
  71. THE TAO OF DT Give a damn, get each other’s back and freely share the burdens and the rewards of your work. 71 CARE ABOUT YOUR CO-WORKERS, CLIENTS AND USERS
  72. THE TAO OF DT The work you perform is so much more powerful and complete if you care about the people you are working alongside of. 72 CARE ABOUT YOUR CO-WORKERS, CLIENTS AND USERS
  73. THE TAO OF DT If you find yourself not caring about something, or someone, it’s a powerful indicator that change is needed. 73 CARE ABOUT YOUR CO-WORKERS, CLIENTS AND USERS
  74. THE TAO OF DT 74CARE ABOUT YOUR CO-WORKERS, CLIENTS, & USERS “I couldn’t have done this without being empathetic. It’s important to stay true to my word and follow through. I want to be that reliable person for someone.” —Dustin
  75. THE TAO OF DT 75 CARE ABOUT YOUR CO-WORKERS, CLIENTS, & USERS Dustin’s Story Dustin and Rocky originally met at Valio Con. Dustin made it his mission to get Rocky hired at DT. Woot! Having moved from Idaho himself, Dustin knew what it felt like to uproot and relocate. He offered up his time, coordinated a group of people from DT to help Rocky move and settle into San Diego.
  76. THE TAO OF DT 76 MORE EXAMPLES Bradley+Bim & Arnold Bradley & Bim: Whiteboard notation framework that allows for easier hand-off to designers and alignment with the client. Arnold: Making coffee everyday and replacing whiteboard markers. CARE ABOUT YOUR CO-WORKERS, CLIENTS, & USERS
  77. THE TAO OF DT 77 CARE ABOUT YOUR CO-WORKERS, CLIENTS, & USERS Ask yourself Am I thinking about the people my work affects instead of just the deliverables? Do I have the back of my team and clients? What could we change to enable us to care more about our projects?
  78. THE TAO OF DT OUR VALUES BE DRIVEN FOR GROWTH REALIZE THE POTENTIAL IN EVERYONE AND EVERYTHING TAKE INITIATIVE TO MAKE IT BETTER CARE ABOUT YOUR CO-WORKERS, CLIENTS, AND USERS CHALLENGE THE NORM WITH SOUL BE AN OWNER CONTRIBUTE TO THE TRIBE 78
  79. THE TAO OF DT CHALLENGE THE NORM WITH SOUL Since day one, DT has challenged the status quo. As a result, we’ve developed a unique and soulful business philosophy that sets us apart from the competition. 79
  80. THE TAO OF DT CHALLENGE THE NORM WITH SOUL We ask you to continue the tradition and… make shit up. 80
  81. THE TAO OF DT CHALLENGE THE NORM WITH SOUL Be fearless and original with your work. Set the standard. 81
  82. THE TAO OF DT CHALLENGE THE NORM WITH SOUL Be adventurous; bravely take the uncharted path and be proud of being different. 82
  83. THE TAO OF DT CHALLENGE THE NORM WITH SOUL Get outside of your comfort zone. Make mistakes and take risks. Just don’t be normal or play it safe. 83
  84. THE TAO OF DT CHALLENGE THE NORM WITH SOUL Soul is what brings any interaction to life, whether it be human or digital... 84
  85. THE TAO OF DT CHALLENGE THE NORM WITH SOUL ...so add a dash of soul to everything you do and make it meaningful. 85
  86. THE TAO OF DT CHALLENGE THE NORM WITH SOUL We value the unconventional and one- of-a-kind approach instead of tried- and-true. 86
  87. THE TAO OF DTCHALLENGE THE NORM WITH SOUL “We both really like to have fun.” —Bethany & MK 87
  88. THE TAO OF DT 88 CHALLENGE THE NORM WITH SOUL MK & Bethany’s Story The challenge: Throw an amazing Holiday party. They thought about who DT is and decided that, since we’re all kinda nerdy, why not throw a Prom party! Bethany really wanted to contribute to the company as a whole and MK’s experience at last year’s Holiday Party helped her to build lasting relationships; she wanted to pay that forward. Working through time constraints and making time after hours, the whole planning committee (Dani, Melanie and Shannon included!) banded together and threw one hell of a party.
  89. THE TAO OF DT 89 MORE EXAMPLES MK+Nate+Dan & Culture Team MK, Nate and Dan: Office and conference room designs Culture Team (and others): Client visits, Infobip all the time, small train bags for Yekra and Fullscreen CHALLENGE THE NORM WITH SOUL
  90. THE TAO OF DT 90 CHALLENGE THE NORM WITH SOUL Ask yourself Am I taking the ordinary or extraordinary path? Am I making shit up? How can I add soul and purpose into everything I do? Am I being fearful or fearless?
  91. THE TAO OF DT OUR VALUES BE DRIVEN FOR GROWTH REALIZE THE POTENTIAL IN EVERYONE AND EVERYTHING TAKE INITIATIVE TO MAKE IT BETTER CARE ABOUT YOUR CO-WORKERS, CLIENTS, AND USERS CHALLENGE THE NORM WITH SOUL BE AN OWNER CONTRIBUTE TO THE TRIBE 91
  92. THE TAO OF DT BE AN OWNER You have the freedom to own your path at DT. Don’t be limited to your job description. 92
  93. THE TAO OF DT BE AN OWNER You could be at DT for two weeks or 20 years. Know that everyone has a voice... 93
  94. THE TAO OF DT BE AN OWNER ...everyone has the autonomy to make a positive impact on the company’s success, as well as the happiness of everyone around you. 94
  95. THE TAO OF DT BE AN OWNER Do what you say, and do it well. See things through to the end. 95
  96. THE TAO OF DT BE AN OWNER Everyone involved in a project, owns the project. Be honest, accountable and hold others accountable. 96
  97. THE TAO OF DTBE AN OWNER “You can’t plan innovation. You have to do it. If you believe in There, you don’t care about failing Here” —Jessica, David, & Nate 97
  98. THE TAO OF DT 98 BE AN OWNER Jessica, David & Nate’s Story The needs: Increase creativity, promote growth, reduce stress and create space for betterment on the regular. Chuck heard the needs and put the team together. They locked themselves in a room and out came the BetEx program. BetEx rolled out in its infancy and received some tough feedback. But they persevered. They were willing to make shit up and just do it.
  99. THE TAO OF DT MORE EXAMPLES John & Chuck+Laurence John: DT Beta Brew Chuck: “Betty” bathroom record library makeover 99BE AN OWNER
  100. THE TAO OF DT BE AN OWNER Ask yourself Am I taking control of my career? What can I do to move any project forward? Am I doing what I say and doing it well? 100
  101. THE TAO OF DT OUR VALUES BE DRIVEN FOR GROWTH REALIZE THE POTENTIAL IN EVERYONE AND EVERYTHING TAKE INITIATIVE TO MAKE IT BETTER CARE ABOUT YOUR CO-WORKERS, CLIENTS, AND USERS CHALLENGE THE NORM WITH SOUL BE AN OWNER CONTRIBUTE TO THE TRIBE 101
  102. THE TAO OF DT CONTRIBUTE TO THE TRIBE Contribution has been in DT’s DNA since the beginning. We’ve contributed to movements, such as, The Lean Startup and Coworking. We freely give away details about our culture and design process, and we even lead our sales process by freely giving our time and ideas. 102
  103. THE TAO OF DT CONTRIBUTE TO THE TRIBE We are givers, not takers. Be open and willing. Be abundant with your mind, time and efforts. 103
  104. THE TAO OF DT CONTRIBUTE TO THE TRIBE Contribution leads to great fulfillment in life. It gives you a sense of ownership and impact, and it’s not so hard to do. 104
  105. THE TAO OF DT CONTRIBUTE TO THE TRIBE Contribution is a secret way to get the most out of life… it’s a gateway value! 105
  106. THE TAO OF DT Be the change you want to see. —Gandhi 106
  107. THE TAO OF DTCONTRIBUTE TO THE TRIBE “I like when we have video footage. It captures fleeting moments. Effort is more important than success in things like this.” —Jamie 107
  108. THE TAO OF DT CONTRIBUTE TO THE TRIBE Jamie’s Story It started when Stieler gave his talk about being a Sweeper; Jamie wished we’d had this recorded! He’d been thinking about the best way to capture moments. He didn’t ask for permission and just started filming huddles. Side note: He noticed huddles became increasingly more polished ;) Armed with self-purchased equipment, he is now our resident photographer and videographer. 108
  109. THE TAO OF DT MORE EXAMPLES Arnold, Nate & Eric Arnold: Service leadership. (Random acts of caffeine: “I’m leaving, do you need anything?”) Nate - Yoga and stretching lessons Eric - Video games 109CONTRIBUTE TO THE TRIBE
  110. THE TAO OF DT CONTRIBUTE TO THE TRIBE Ask yourself Am I giving, or taking? What mark do I want to make at DT? What’s my role in contributing to the sum of our parts? 110
  111. THE TAO OF DT Fireside Chat with Sir Jason Amunwa 111
  112. THE TAO OF DT Our values make up our culture. Our culture guides our behaviors and beliefs while performing our craft. BRINGING IT ALL TOGETHER Betterment by Design is our tool for impacting people’s experiences. Our noble cause is to work towards Elevating Life’s Experiences, everyday. Our Values Our Craft Our Noble Cause + + 112
  113. THE TAO OF DT Our values make up our culture. Our culture guides our behaviors and beliefs while performing our craft. BRINGING IT ALL TOGETHER Betterment by Design is our tool for impacting people’s experiences. Our noble cause is to work towards Elevating Life’s Experiences, everyday. Our Values Our Craft Our Noble Cause + + 113
  114. THE TAO OF DT Our values make up our culture. Our culture guides our behaviors and beliefs while performing our craft. BRINGING IT ALL TOGETHER Betterment By Design is our tool for impacting people’s experiences. Our noble cause is to work towards Elevating Life’s Experiences, everyday. Our Values Our Craft Our Noble Cause + + 114
  115. THE TAO OF DT 115 We Elevate Life’s Experiences Betterment By Design Be driven for growth Take initiative to make it better Challenge the norm with soul Realize the potential in everyone and everything Care about your co-workers, clients and users Be an owner Contribute to the tribe Culture Values NC Betterment Design
  116. THE TAO OF DT 82
  117. THE TAO OF DT We choose to be here because we believe in what DT stands for. We work with people who we care about, trust and are inspired by. We expect those around us to be talented, ambitious, high performers and dreamers. We work together all share ownership of the wins, losses and collective effort that it takes to do great things. WE ARE A TRIBE 117
  118. THE TAO OF DT We choose to be here because we believe in what DT stands for. We work with people who we care about, trust and are inspired by. We expect those around us to be talented, ambitious, high performers and dreamers. We work together all share ownership of the wins, losses and collective effort that it takes to do great things. WE ARE A TRIBE 118
  119. THE TAO OF DT We choose to be here because we believe in what DT stands for. We work with people who we care about, trust and are inspired by. We expect those around us to be talented, ambitious, high-performers and dreamers. We work together all share ownership of the wins, losses and collective effort that it takes to do great things. WE ARE A TRIBE 119
  120. THE TAO OF DT We choose to be here because we believe in what DT stands for. We work with people who we care about, trust and are inspired by. We expect those around us to be talented, ambitious, high performers and dreamers. We share the ownership of the wins, losses and the collective effort that it takes to do great things. WE ARE A TRIBE 120
  121. THE TAO OF DT WE ARE A TRIBE A Tribe is different from a family or a team. 121
  122. THE TAO OF DT WE ARE A TRIBE Each of us choose to be part of the tribe based on our shared beliefs, passions and a desire to contribute and make us better. 122
  123. THE TAO OF DT WE ARE A TRIBE We choose who is part of our tribe based on their cultural fit and what they will contribute. 123
  124. THE TAO OF DT I am because we are. It defines who we are collectively. Each person makes a difference on each person, and DT as a whole. WE ARE A TRIBE 124
  125. THE TAO OF DT WE ARE A TRIBE It’s not about you, it’s about us and our journey. 125
  126. THE TAO OF DT WE ARE A TRIBE When anyone grows, we all grow. When people join or leave, our tribe evolves. 126
  127. THE TAO OF DT WE ARE A TRIBE We are DT, and DT is the Tribe. Without DT, there is no tribe, and without us, there is no DT. 127
  128. THE TAO OF DT 128 SO WHAT’S NEXT? Using culture to guide our business. The Tao must balance the needs of the company and fit within each role, department and experience within the company. We are putting programs in place to embed our culture into our daily jobs and decisions. We will gather feedback and evolve the culture, as needed, to best guide our company.
  129. THE TAO OF DT 129 The Culture Action Team (CAT) We’ve created the CAT as an employee-driven team to develop the programs that embed the Tao into everything we do and hold us accountable to running our company via our culture. Potential Upcoming Programs: ● We will lean on the Tao when making big and small business decisions ● Tao notebooks and book: How to live our culture ● Library and learning program ● Jason: Fireside chats to share and record our stories ● Hiring and reviews ● Culture Alignment Contract for new and current team ● Live Your Life programs (Flexible work environment and sabbaticals) ● Set big goals together ● Intrapreneur program ● Celebrate fund SO WHAT’S NEXT?
  130. THE TAO OF DT CAT: How to get involved The team: Jess, Nate, Bethany, James, Dana, Chuck, Laurence, Jason and you? 1. See a need 2. Think of a solution 3. Find a wingman 4. Do it and have fun 130 SO WHAT’S NEXT?
  131. THE TAO OF DT CREDITS The Tao of DT was created by you. Whether it’s your 3rd day or 3,000th day, you’ve contributed to our culture in some way. Your comments in 15Five, surveys, pow-wows, participating in Delivering Happiness and Tribal Leadership, your actions each-and-every day inspired the Tao of DT. The Tao is because we are. Specifically, we’d like to thank... ● The original CME noble cause and values team and participants. ● Nate for being our spiritual guide through all the renditions of our culture. ● Jason and David for their German interstellar calculations. ● Arnold for being a huge part of Vision Quest #2 and Jess for being online late and giving instafeedback. ● Laurence for making the space for us all to do this crazy thing. ● Dana for making this awesome presentation; Nate/Jess for Chuck-hacking it together; James for the crafty designs...crap here comes the send-off music! Ummm, Bethany/Jess for their secret missions and Jason for being so inspired by your examples of Tao that he inspired us; John and Dave for sticking with us for so long and everyone who was included as a value example. Phew! :) 131

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