#52 WE Housekeeping: Get Started On Your Work WE

One last post on my WORK WE - the core values, beliefs, behaviors, traits that define my business. I’ll start by directing you to the latest version of my MAP. You’ll see my KNOW, DISTILL, beDIRECT included, and you’ll also notice that I rotated the highlights section to make room for more descriptive text.

WORK map 006 horizontal stopped at WE wrong size.png

You should also be aware that this map is made for a business of one. While I’ve historically managed lots of people and been the President of a company, the current state of my business is solo practitioner. So my first bit of WE housekeeping has to do with making your WORK map more welcoming to your employees.


I’ve been hardcore that the business owner drives the company’s WE. But I’m not hardcore about the words you use to describe that WE.

There is no harm in having the team choose alternate phrasing that they can get behind and remember. So debate and/or vote on the terminology to your hearts content. Make it clearer, simpler, more applicable to the team.

Using my WORK WE as an example, I’ve decided that we’re going to communicate in a beDIRECT fashion. But I don’t really care what we call it. For example, a team might choose to morph “beDIRECT” into “Respectfully be the crucible”. Fine with me - still carries the same intent. But don’t let it become “Support each other”.  That’s a great sentiment. I believe it fits under DuO (for a refresher on DuO see GOTCHA #1 in post #25 - More ME). But it has a different meaning than the one I’ve attached to my beDIRECT. 

So wordsmith with the team, but DO NOT let the meaning change.

You alone set the key values/beliefs/behavioral guidelines.
Together you name them.
Together you hire folks that FIT them.
Together you apply them.
Together you grow.


HR gurus tell you to hire folks that fill your gaps. I agree if you're talking about skills gaps. I disagree if you're talking about behavioral gaps that stem from your ME/WE. Let me use an all too common example to explain.

You, the founder of the company, are an idea fountain. Maybe a little defocused, but you provide a creative energy that's important to the firm. And let's further assume that creativity/spontaneity is part of your WE. It's a value that’s innate to you and your firm and it’s something you’re trying to nurture and protect.

Here's where “gap filling” can get dangerous. To offset the “messiness” that can accompany creativity, you might hire a COO with process lust in their heart.

This can go one of two ways.

If the new COO doesn't appreciate and embrace the much valued creativity, then shit’s gonna hit the fan. There will be fireworks and the new COO is headed for the trash bin.

What do you expect when you hire someone hell bent on reigning in something you value?

The other way this can go is as follows. The owner hires a COO that has a deep lust for process, AND embraces the organizations creativity. A COO that appreciates the firehose of ideas and works to find a way to bring the best of them to fruition. Maybe lays out a process to vet the ideas. To help the best bubble to the top quicker. And finds a way to streamline buy in and implementation.

Under the second scenario the COO avoids becoming the owners whiney nemesis, and instead becomes the operational curator of the businesses amazing creative energy. 

Unfortunately, I’ve mostly seen folks head down path number one - mutually assured destruction. Tech firms are especially good at screwing this one up.

So bottom line, do not hire folks that are the opposite of any of your WE criteria. They won’t be filling in cracks, they’ll be prying them wider apart. Turning them into gaping bloody chasms. And leaving you with expensive and politically exhausting turnover headaches. 

NEVER violate your WE.


1.    Stop reading. 
2.    Pick up your pencil and draw a line.
3.    Put a title on it that reflects a behavior or value you care about.
3a.  (Avoid using something from DuO, such as honesty, fairness, apple pie, etc)
4.    Label the extremes.
5.    Place an X on the line where your position lies.
6.    Write a paragraph or two that details your position.
7.    Jot down times you’ve lived by this standard, and the ensuing rewards.
8.    Jot down times you've violated this standard and the ensuing repercussions.
9.    Distill the paragraph(s) to a word or phrase that describes your position. 
10.  Repeat steps 1-9 two more times.

Doing this exercise will suck. Your brain won’t want to do it. Your Bull/Elephant, as we talked about in post #47 - Blame the Bull, mostly wants to do easy automatic stuff. And this isn't easy or automatic.

But you should do it anyway. There is no downside.


(This site is all about building a Map that will help me do work and life better. So at the end of each post I check in to see if any changes / insights come to mind.)

Enough housekeeping. Here, once again, are the unfinished results of my WORK MAP efforts.


And here, for comparative purposes, is my most recent SELF map. 


We’ll be discussing both of these next time as I dive into my WORK IF -  the theories or curiosities that underly my daily activities.

***Note: This site works best when you read the posts in order. So please head to the ARCHIVE to get started.