There’s an old saying that “sunlight is the best disinfectant.” It’s based on the idea that transparency helps eliminate problems that can often grow when we keep things in the shadows. It’s one of the driving principles behind the TEN7 value: Be Open.
In my experience, since I joined TEN7, the importance of being open actually goes far beyond preventing issues. To me, this value is the “connective tissue” for how we elevate our work for clients, come together as a team, and make a positive contribution to the world around us. In other words, Be Open is central to our effort to Make Things That Matter.
When I started at TEN7, I knew about the mission and values. In fact, they were part of what compelled me to apply for the job in the first place. Still, on one of my first days, I had an experience that showed me how these values, particularly Be Open, play out in our work everyday.
I was set up on the company’s Slack account and I “direct messaged” our CEO, Ivan, with a question. He responded, and then said, in the future I should communicate in Slack Channels rather than through Direct Messaging. His point was, in keeping with our value to Be Open, it’s best to pose questions and comments in public forums, so all the relevant parties can be informed and can weigh in. At first it seemed like a strange request, but then I realized it made sense. Since that time I’ve kept most things on Channels and I’ve seen how it keeps everyone engaged, fosters great ideas, and helps make sure everyone is on the same page as we move forward.
Our commitment to Be Open makes an impact in every area that we touch:
- It compels us to support Open Source by paying our developers for the time they spend contributing to the Drupal community.
- It drives us to share how we work with our Open Source Employee Handbook and Contractor Guide.
- It’s why we include contact information for all of our employees on our website, so people can reach out to them directly with questions or to learn what TEN7 is really like.
Most of all, Be Open allows me to be the kind of leader I always aspired to be. When everything's out in the open I don’t have to spend time trying to remember what I told someone, or who should be in the loop.
As Director of Growth, Be Open is a selling point to potential clients. We can be honest about who we are and how we work, helping us attract clients who have similar values. That’s how we make a good fit, and how we do great work together.
Recently we entered into a contract with another agency to collaborate on work for a client. This can sometimes be risky if your partner agency gets territorial or puts up walls around their work. Once again, our commitment to Be Open made all the difference.
We had a great discussion with the other agency about expectations, communications, and how we would interact with the client. Everything was on the table so there would be no surprises. The other agency appreciated the discussion and we all came together with a common approach. We set the stage not only to serve this client better, but also for future collaboration with a partner that we’re excited to work with!
This is just one example of how our commitment to Be Open lays the foundation for meaningful growth. Transparency helps us become greater than the sum of our parts as we try to make a difference in the world.
Other TEN7 Voices on Be Inclusive
“As a human being and as a member of the TEN7 team, I always want to be learning and growing. For me, TEN7’s value of Be Open speaks to this.
As soon as we close ourselves off to possibilities — whether it’s a new approach to something we’ve been doing or a new opportunity — we stagnate. I love the fact that we, as a team, stay open, and that our openness isn’t limited. We all listen to and learn from each other regardless of our role within the company. We all bring a unique perspective to the team and we all have the ability to shape and improve the way we operate.
I’ve always appreciated our openness to each other in this way.”
— Dani Adelman, Director of Operations
“Be Open means a few different things to me. It means that at work, the culture is one where everyone can be themselves. You are empowered to bring your whole self. We want you to share those cute kid or pet pics you took over the weekend. We want you to share the project you’re working on, the things that are going on in your life, what you’re thinking about, and what’s making you laugh. It’s how we connect, create community, get to know one another, and build trust.
Be Open also means issues aren’t allowed to fester. Got something on your mind? Share it! Let’s address it! There’s an expectation to give and receive frequent feedback at TEN7. There’s constant improvement. We even take steps to check in with folks about HOW they prefer to receive feedback - in terms of timing, and in what format.
Be Open is not just applicable to employees. We also want our clients to be open with us and to tell us exactly what they’re thinking when we’re working together on a project. That’s what enables us to do our very best work.”
— Erin Cardinal, Chief of Staff