Bonus Feature! Part 5: Perspective, Passion, and Healthy Skepticism

Just when you thought my series with Slalom Chicago’s General Manager was over, I thought I would finish it with a bonus feature. Remember DVDs? At the end of a movie, there would be the “bonus features” section where you could view behind-the-scenes content or extra footage that didn’t make the final cut. Well, I have a bonus feature for you.

Justin and I talked about the culture at Slalom and if it’s for real. We all have our doubts about certain workplace cultures. Sure, there’s the Glassdoor reviews and prestigious workplace awards. But what is it really like to work there?

Here is the last part of our conversation. I promise!

John:  Some people think our culture sounds too good to be true.  I actually had the same thought when I was interviewing. I was looking for all these red flags, so not seeing a red flag felt like a red flag! I tested it though. It’s only a fairy tale if you don’t jump in with both feet and test it. Put on your “devil’s advocate hat.” Those who jump in, test the culture and embrace it are the people who flourish. I know we’re not perfect, we’ve got a lot of work to do still, but we’re on the right path.

Justin: What makes it real is that we know we’re still learning. I think it’s normal that people read this post with skepticism. Skepticism isn’t a bad thing – it’s part of critical thinking. The fact that we encourage it speaks to how different Slalom is. We ask people to just give it a few months when they get here. Don’t be in a rush. I think of someone who came up to me after five months shocked because, “Slalom actually lives these values.” People have been conditioned to expect organizational values to be marketing material. There’s a readjustment period when people realize: “the things I used to be successful in other places are not sufficient for success here.”

John:  So, what do you look for when you talk to people who are looking to join Slalom?  What are the qualities, in addition to what we discussed earlier – learner orientation, courage and humility – that set people up for success in our culture?

Justin: I look for two things. One is unique perspective. I want people to identify a unique perspective about the way the world works, about what frustrates or inspires them – the stuff that keeps them up at night. The second quality is passion. I want to know they have the passion to bring that perspective to life. When you meet someone who has found their passion, they become an unstoppable force.  They have an energy that’s magnetic and contagious.  They’ve found their calling, their mission. The combination of passion and perspective is exciting and inspiring – and it’s foundational to our culture.

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