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Hanging from the ceiling, like world championship banners, are five giant statements of the Atlassian company values. In an earlier post I explained how talking about values improves company culture and competitiveness. It looks like Atlassian might tell you the same thing. Jim Collins, in Good To Great, claimed you don’t need perfect values—you just need values—and that alone is enough to make a difference. Imagine the tone that is set everyday when an employee walks into their office and sees this:

  • Open Company, No Bullshit
  • Build with Heart and Balance
  • Don’t #@!% the Customer
  • Play, as a Team [note the comma!]
  • Be the Change You Seek.

That’s pretty clear and powerful stuff when it comes to explaining the accepted rules of conduct at Atlassian to anyone who works there.

Drucker believed a huge percentage of knowledge workers should be managed as if they were volunteers. Not only did he recognize that volunteers do what they do for meaning, control, achievement, etc., but he also saw that today’s workers are well educated, mobile, and carry with them their own means of production—in other words, they can work anywhere they want. He also argued persuasively that knowledge workers, and organizations, excel when the workers themselves seek responsibility for their own work and it’s impact on the whole.

So, if your workforce consists of highly educated, intelligent, super-mobile people who crave responsibility, you’re off to a fantastic start.

Now it’s your job to build the organization’s values, and constantly reaffirm them, so your people know how to excel within your culture and to learn explicitly why they were attracted to you in the first place.


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