People come first
- Be human
- Build strong relationships
- Clear the path for each other
Perfection through iteration
- Experiment with intention
- Keep it lean
Leave things better than we found them
- Enable and empower
- Have an impact
- Outcome over input
There comes a time for every company when you need to get things written down. In the early days, when you can all sit around one table for lunch together, you can talk about what’s important to you. You demonstrate it, over and over, through your actions. In some cases, your actions aren’t completely aligned with your values, but you talk about why the thing you just did isn’t ideal, and how you’d like to do it better. A small team, all working together on everything, in one room – it’s easy to stay in sync.
But then you get a little bigger. You start to bring in new people who weren’t in all those conversations. Things evolve. What worked for 5 people doesn’t work for 10.
That’s when you need to step back, and really work what your values are, what’s important. These are our values:
We believe that people come first – without our team, we are nothing. Without our customers, we have nothing. Melodics is here to make a positive difference to people’s lives.
We build strong relationships. Externally, that is working with partners. We are very much a business of partnerships. We find ways to support the goals of our partners, so that they in turn will support us. That’s what partnership means to us.
Internally, it’s how we treat each other – with kindness. That means being respectful and supporting one another, but at times challenging each other, and not settling for good enough. In debate, our mindset is to refine the idea, not to win the argument. We have strong opinions, but hold them loosely, and we are willing to change our minds.
We choose to be human. We each have strengths and weaknesses. We are open with each other. As individuals, we’re all awesome at some things, and not so awesome at others. The more open and honest we can be with each other about this, the better we can work together as a team.
We know it’s hard to get started with music. We know that there are barriers, people feel excluded, that music is for musicians, other people. We clear a path. We recognise those barriers are real, and help to break them down, to make music accessible to everyone.
We also clear a path at work. We strive to remove the barriers that exclude people, and stop them from bringing their whole selves to work.
Clearing a path means being highly aligned, but loosely coupled. In command, but out of control. To be in command, clearly communicate intent, values, and standards. To be out of control, trust your team’s skills, judgement, and experiences (and get out of the way). In this way, we enable and empower.
We experiment with intention. We believe in perfection through iteration. We’re making a world-class product, and we know that the way we get there is by fine-tuning the cycle of deploying, learning and iterating. At our core is an experimental mindset. This means that many of the things we try will fail – If we’re not failing enough, we’re playing it too safe. We’re willing to be wrong. Failure is normal, to be expected – the value is what we learn from it.
We keep it lean. When it comes to process, our mantra is barely sufficient. Enough to do the job, no more. No process for process sake.
Work is most rewarding when you are in a state of flow, flow is where challenge and ability intersect. We ask our team to do things they already excel at, and mix that with pushing people beyond their comfort zone, making space for learning.
The concept of flow is core to our company. Flow as a concept overlaps with so much of what we do. In education, this concept is known as the learning edge. In gaming it’s called challenge balance. The idea is found everywhere at Melodics – progress happens when you’re in the zone between too easy, and too hard. Challenged, but not to the point of frustration.
We have a responsibility of guardianship – to leave the world better than we found it. We believe music is good for the soul and mind, and that our success will improve lives.
We believe that outcomes are more important than input. We’re counting what we do, what we make, what we improve or resolve. What counts is our achievements. Not how many hours you work in a week.
These are the values we aspire to hold ourselves to.
A little bit more…
We aspire to these values. We don’t always meet them. By putting these down in writing, this gives us something to point to, to say this is how we want to act, who we want to be. I invite everyone to challenge anything that they see us doing that does not live up to these values.
And as founder, there is something else that I personally feel very strongly about
We are a New Zealand company. Our country prospers by exporting our land.
Rain falls and the sun shines on grass, which is eaten by cows, who make milk, which we sell.
We sell our scenery to tourists.
I believe that this doesn’t scale… we can’t get more rain, more sun. We can’t accommodate 100x more tourists.
It’s not sustainable. Scaling up agriculture puts even more pressure on our environment. Flying people in on jet planes is ruining the air. The future lies in exporting ideas.
Part of my personal mission with Melodics is proving that this can be done, and done from here. We’re clearing a path for other kiwi companies to do the same.