Fenwick – Cultural Guidelines

Back in 1976, I set out to make Fenwick Software an enjoyable place to work, somewhere to build a career and a place to create long lasting friendships and relationships. In both internal operations, and in dealings with clients, we continue to implement these basic concepts. In 2006, Eric Beinhocker, a Senior Fellow at the McKinsey Global Institute wrote a brilliant book on the radical remaking of economics and what it means for business and society – The Origin of Wealth. Beinhocker’s cultural guidelines, detailed below, fit with our beliefs and the behavioural practices that we have developed over the past 37 years.

It is always nice to get academic confirmation of ideas you have worked out from years of trial and error. Josh Birrell’s blog on 26th September 2013 tells how someone new to the firm sees it and confirms that it is all still there two years after I stepped down.

Performing norms

  1. Performance Orientation: Always do your best, go the extra mile, take initiative, and continuously improve yourself.
  2. Honesty: Be honest with others, be honest with yourself, be transparent and face reality.
  3. Meritocracy: Reward people on the basis of merit.

Cooperating norms

  1. Mutual Trust: Trust your colleagues’ motivation, and trust in their skills to get the job done.
  2. Reciprocity: Live the golden rule; do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
  3. Shared Purpose: Put the organizations’ interests ahead of your own, and behave as if everyone is in it together.

Innovating norms

  1. Non-hierarchical: Junior people are expected to challenge senior people, and what matters is the quality of an idea, not the title of the person saying it.
  2. Openness: Be curious, open to outside thinking, and willing to experiment, seek the best, wherever it is.
  3. Fact-Based: Find out the facts; it is facts, not opinions, that ultimately count.
  4. Challenge: Feel a sense of competitive urgency; it is a race without a finish line.

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