Founding Operational Principles: Design My Career

Our fifth and final operating principle is called Design My Career.  

As a business, we perform on the principles of Agile. Which means that we’re lean, move with agility and run our processes through frameworks like Kanban.

We think your career should be the same process. 

Here’s what I mean.

Most people that I sit with and ask about their long-term plans all look at me with a lost gaze. Their faces say it all: that they don’t know.   

I believe that the most important thing in one’s career is their ability to design something that is both meaningful and valuable.

And the only way you can do that is by doing different activities  to learn and understand what is enjoyable. Which doesn’t necessarily mean that what you’re doing now is going to be what you’re doing in the long term.  

So we’ve created this framework that flips the traditional HR model and asks these questions:

  • How do I develop myself in a way that is meaningful to me?
  • How do I develop myself irrespective of the time that it takes to get there?   

If you think about most traditional performance management frameworks,  every year you sit down and tick each of the same boxes. 

You know you are going to get x amount of an increase and that’s the end of it.

It’s up to you to decide where you want your career to go

While it’s quite difficult to track performance and correlate that to career development, what we are doing is saying, “Wait a minute. It’s up to you to develop your career  to where you want to go, because it’s not up to us.” 

As such, we’ve created this framework  that allows you to develop your hard functional skills while aligning to the softer, human-related skills  to ultimately take you towards where your ambition lies. 

It’s a powerful framework that allows people to find meaning and purpose today. And that is what it comes down to.

All there is, is right now.   

All that you have is the work that you’re doing in front of you.

If you’re able to get insights and understanding of the value that it creates in your life, then  all the more power to you. Certainly, in my own life I’ve gone through jobs that have been devoid of meaning and even quite ruthless and harsh.

It’s soul-crushing.

It’s soul-destroying. 

And I don’t want to be  running a business that destroys and crushes people’s souls.   

The purpose behind developing the Design My Career framework is to take you on a journey. That is entirely up to you.

It’s not up to me to take you through your career development.  

It’s up to you, as the individual.

And my ideal outcome?

To create the right data points so that you target the right ones and move towards the next available step.

I don’t want to be sitting down with anyone at the end of the year, telling them that they’ve done a great, or a crappy job and handing them their percentage increase.   

Quite the opposite. 

I want to see someone who really applies themselves based on the principle of ‘what you put into it, you get out of it.’

Because this is how life works.

 The more you put into it, the more you contribute, the more value that comes back to you.

A simple example of this is if you want to laugh, you’ve got to share laughter. If you want to be loved, you’ve got to share love.  

This is a very simple human principle.

With Design My Career, you’re empowered to accelerate your career. 

If you are really pushing hard, doing the right things and growing in the right way, you’re constructively building value and achieving what we would measure at the end of a year, in nine months. 

Why shouldn’t you be able to progress? Why shouldn’t you get an early salary increase? 

We are flipping the traditional model and how we think about this. I believe that it is a powerful framework  that is really disrupting the core of what HR is actually all about. 

I would rather create value in everyone’s life and have fun doing it, than be   bureaucratic, painful and jaded when dealing with people.  

I want to be the opposite.

To leave and be excited that we’ve created value  in people’s lives and get the energy out of that, as opposed to just managing by the book.

 So this is Design My Career.

When we sat down and started Teraflow, Brett, Prin and myself didn’t want to be part of a business that was the antithesis to this. We agreed to do things differently.

*And that’s a wrap! This series gave you a glimpse into our five foundational operating principles and how we thought about the business when we started it. (If you’ve missed any, find them on my personal website).

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