Bag It Up

November 16, 2016

Image source: The Lab

A few weeks ago, I spent some time with the Labsters in Melbourne, imbibing the culture so that we can transport our unique brand to the fairer climes of Sydney. And despite initially thinking the culture is almost entirely built on listening to office anthem “
No Diggity” by Blackstreet on repeat, I realised there’s a lot more to what makes The Lab great.

Getting the culture of the organisation on point is critical to success, and three values stood out that will need to form the cornerstones of Sydney.

Image source: Unsplash 

Value Number One is: Bring yourself to work.

This is easier said than done. We often cope with the stresses of the workplace by building a “work persona”, or  a sub-self (as referred to in The Rational Animal, a book I recommend, and feels increasingly relevant in today’s hyper connected, fragmented world). But as the Millennials continue to dismantle the traditional notion of the workplace, modern working environments need to evolve. 

We need to build spaces and cultures where we can exhibit and nurture our real personalities. At The Lab the walls are down, and you’re encouraged to exhibit your own creative flair and uniqueness, both in the office and with clients. This forms principle number one for The Lab Sydney – “Be Thyself” - and I’m going to engrave it in my own blood above the office door just to firmly make the point.

Image source: Unsplash

Value Number Two is: The thirst for new perspectives.

Really deep, creative, tangential, interesting, culture driven thinking needs to be preserved and celebrated. Providing space, time and environments for thinking is critical, and recognising that different people have different needs to generate the best thoughts. “What conditions do you need to generate your best work?” should be a question that we ask of ourselves and others on a regular basis. The Lab is a place where the conditions are provided to go further and deeper with your thinking.

Image source: Unsplash

The third value is: Pursue Greatness.

The DNA of the brand is built on disruptive, agnostic methodologies to answer client problems. Pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable is the norm and an expected part of daily life. You can see it manifested in lots of ways, from looping together Virtual Reality and Design Thinking on projects, to exploring machine learning to help codify culture. Having a go, being experimental and being courageous is in the fabric of the organisation.

Building a sister office in a separate geography is no mean feat, particularly when a large part of the original success is built on people, culture and slightly esoteric behaviours. 

It’s these nuanced and often sub-conscious interactions and practices that need to be articulated and then deliberately instilled in the new environment. But, through relentless focus on our values and ensuring they are always upheld, consistency can be achieved.