Matthew's Mind

Your wings already exist. All you have to do is fly.

With the amount we travel, it made sense to get TSA pre-checked status done recently. Have you done that yet? Faster lines at airport security, less restrictions and less hassle. What’s not to love?

Well…one thing’s not to love…the process to get approved.

(I’m sure you’ve been here before too). Walking into the application facility, I was greeted by no one. No receptionist, no “hello” and no warm smile. Instead I was looking at a sign-in sheet, dirty chairs in a gathering area and three other bored-to-death men staring at their shoes. After a few minutes, a woman appeared behind the counter, looked at the clipboard and mumbled my name. She then walked me to a back room that couldn’t have been more soulless had it tried. White-painted, cinder block walls, folding chairs, name badges, a bad cat calendar in the background, ten impersonal questions on a screen and four sets of fingerprints later; I was gone. Leaving the TSA pre-check facility, I thought about “work” and what it’d feel like entering that environment every morning.

AE Handy BookThe very next day, an opposite experience grabbed me. A thought leader I follow suggested I Google “Valve employee handbook” and what I found was inspiring and refreshing. (Later I discovered this manual is inspiration for the Advisors Excel’s internal “AE Handy-Book” that circulates around our office).

Valve is an entertainment software and technology company, and their employee handbook genuinely celebrates a unique company culture. At the very beginning of it, Valve guides their employees through:

“A fearless adventure in knowing what to do when no one’s there telling you what to do.”

And goes on to says their handbook is:

“…for new employees. Congratulations, and welcome. We want to make sure that your first experiences in our unique culture are easy to navigate—working without bosses, no one telling you what to work on next, what’s the deal with the weekly massages, why do all the desks have wheels? What happens after you get here is something we spend a lot of time thinking about, so we’ve created a handbook for new employees that explains how we’re organized (or not!), why we’re set up that way, and what to expect the first day, first month, and first six months.”

Without babbling on the wrap-up point, you know where we’re headed.

  • Which of these 2 firms (TSA PreCheck or Valve) would you want to be part of?
  • If I asked your employees, which do you more represent?
  • If I asked your clients, which more describes the “feel” of your practice?
  • Lastly, how can you take from Valve and improve your company culture?


One thought on “Company Culture

  1. Paul T says:

    Sounds like we went to the exact same tsa office. Except mine was in Charlotte.


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