Business is always measured by the numbers: revenue, profit, customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction, delivery milestones are met, services and solutions fulfil measurable quality targets and so on. These are the concrete must-win-battles every successful company needs to achieve continuously. All these objectives and key results can be continuously realised only if the true foundation is in place. Here in QOCO, we use the Objectives and Key Results (OKR) model invented by Intel and historically promoted by Google as a basis for our management system.

No matter what the target setting and measurement model, it’s all about the people!

QOCO is based on three key principles:

  • Teams over individuals - Team responsibility is promoted over individual responsibility in all areas, leading to a flat hierarchy.
  • Authority meets responsibility - Teams are empowered with true responsibility and authority to make decisions.
  • Transparency - We prevent siloing and promote transparency and access to information.

In the end, there are always two sides to the coin: with full authority and autonomy there comes also full responsibility. Does not suit everyone but when you have the right people at the right places, wow!

For attracting just the right talented persons for us and especially for keeping us continuously motivated the values we honour and follow are the key. Not fancy statements on the wall but the daily continuous validation that we truly have the right ones chosen and we follow them every day and in every concrete task we do.

QOCO values in a nut-shell  and few examples of how I as a CEO do my best to concretise these in practice

Honesty - we will not hide mistakes, difficulties or act like we know it all.

One of my most common answers is “I don’t know”. I dare to say it is a fact that there are no geniuses in this world who somehow magically have all the wisdom of everything. We are here to solve the challenges together, a team is always stronger than a bunch of individual persons.

Transparency - as a starting point everything is told if there is no concrete reason not to.

All our hard business figures are open to the whole crew on a real-time basis and we go them through together monthly. We continuously collect employee satisfaction with anonymous polls and show the results without any filtering to everyone. We have an anonymous feedback channel to the CEO and Chairman of the Board with a commitment that every single feedback received will be taken into account, analysed and discussed with the whole crew. We promote the culture to ask anything at any point in time from the management.

Communication - Our responsibility is to make sure targets, expectations and results are informed to everyone

Every team’s objectives and key results are public inside the company including the realisation. We continuously communicate these in our weekly crew meetings, via blog posts and by tracking the realisation in our company level OKR sheet that is open to everyone.

We do our best to promote continuous open communication the best we can and I try to follow this thesis within my own role as a CEO.

Independence - teams will have true power, we will not micro-manage

We have - and had already before global covid-19 pandemic - fully flexible working-from-wherever-you-want policy. We do not give policies for that, why should we?

No one needs to ask permission from management if something is needed for enabling efficient results-creating daily work: whether it comes to laptops, phones, headsets, tooling or whatever. We trust people to know best what investments are justified.

Responsibility - we will always be available for support and will act when needed if targets are not met, in the end, the CEO carries the responsibility for everyone's results

I am not alone in my own role as a CEO and I do not leave anyone else alone whether it is a single person or team that needs support. And this is not about me as a person or CEO as a role but the core foundation of our culture: we are here together, all wins but also all challenges are our joint ones.

At the same time, this means that responsibility cannot be outsourced, it is everyone’s right to reach out for support when needed but if it is not done then we have a problem.

Humanity - we will support diversity and fail fast culture

This is a no-brainer. Or is it?

We need to dare and when we dare we occasionally fail. And there is nothing wrong with that as long as we have tried our best together. If we never fail we do not develop. Diversity should also be a no-brainer. We are working in a global environment with customers on every continent. We already have people from many different cultural backgrounds with very different personalities, ages, genders, hobbies, interests, work roles, places we live, et cetera in our team. We let everyone be who they are and it makes us stronger!

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