We’ve experienced a lot of growth in the last two years and, as a result, our company has more than doubled in size. With so many new personalities and talents, it was time to evolve our culture to meet the elevated aspirations of our team. We spent the last year redefining our purpose, noble cause and the values required to accomplish them everyday.
A month ago, we asked ourselves a very specific question: “Can we run our business solely by our culture?” Being the inquisitive creatures we are, we showed about as much restraint as Houdini floating in zero-g, singing “Freebird.” We set the ambitious goal of communicating The Way of our culture on one piece of paper and with a single world to represent it.
After many whole company conversations and a clutch vision quest, we created the Tao of DT (now the Tao of Telepathy) as a simple way to use our culture to guide every aspect of our business.
Let’s be honest, simple wasn’t easy. It took a team of ten to produce a whopping 131 slide presentation and a three-hour session by yours truly to initially communicate the essence of the Tao. We’ve made this presentation public, for your perusal. Slide 115 has the one-page version.
Spreading the Tao
We wanted to avoid a great unveil so we leaked the Tao ahead of time by enlisting a small team to run a guerilla marketing campaign. They added our noble cause to our outdoor signage, hid more than 80 sticky notes around the office with inspirational quotes from the Tao and ran a contest for those who found the most. When it was time for the official Tao presentation, the team was already familiar with the concepts, so we could focus on the big picture and connect everything together.
We wanted to show our team how committed we were to running our company via our culture, so we surprised them with a big-ass billboard with the Tao emblazoned across it. The billboard is strategically positioned near our office, clearly visible to 90 percent of our team during their daily commutes.
More than 10,000 cars pass the billboard each day. There is no branding on it, just the hashtag #TaoOfDT to lead you here and hopefully accomplish three things:
- To demonstrate our commitment to running our business via our culture.
- To inspire anyone who drives by and happens to look up.
- As a symbol to encourage other companies to run their business via their culture.
It’s important to note that this is an experiment. We don’t know if we’ll be able to make all future decisions based on our culture, but the Tao of DT tells us to commit to the uncharted path, to take initiative and fail or succeed with equal pride and a readiness to learn. Each time we do, it brings us closer to accomplishing our purpose as a company. We believe that most successful companies tend to have great culture and a clear purpose. That being said, culture can be difficult to scale, which is why we feel the Tao will help us stay true to our values as our business evolves. The Tao provides a clear company vision and empowers us all to make a positive impact on world while working in a way that no employee handbook could ever aspire to.
Since we started as a two-friend company, we’ve always been known for our unique culture. As we’ve grown, friends and colleagues continuously doubted that we could maintain this 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 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 people and culture first.
So, what the hell!? Why not give it a go with us? You can always go back to your normal business practices. What’s your Tao?