How are you being more pirate?

How have you been more pirate since our webinar interview with Alex Barker in April?

What were your key takeaways?

On first reading the book I was surprised by the background of the pirates, and how poorly many had been treated by the navy – whose recruitment process was often just picking up drunks and putting them on a boat!

I was also shocked by their intelligence, collaboration and commitment to creating the environment they wanted to be a part of, with far more structure than I had expected.

The five key actions for me from the book and our conversation that we could apply today are;

  1. Establish your code

Many companies do have a handbook – it mainly contains health and safety documentation! How about a value proposition for who you are, what you stand for and where you are going?

This should be a whole team creation, inspiring them to have input – but this would also be amazingly valuable to your marketing, sales and future hires.

It has to be a living document, discussed and updated as your company evolves – and that should be something the whole team are invested in doing.

  1. Embrace democracy

The pirate captain did not have the final say, the crew had a vote and he/ she could be overruled.

That’s not an easy position for a lot of founders, but why hire intelligent people if you don’t get them involved in decision making, strategic goal creations and in establishing your code – your company should not be a dictatorship if you want to grow.

  1. Reward fairly

The spoils of success should be shared equally, the pirates had it in their code who got what after each raid – the captain would be on a higher share but not 100x.

Rewards are not always financial, find out what motivates your team – that could be flexible working, being able to buy more holidays, vouchers for M&S.

  1. Empower voice

To know what makes your team happy you’ll have to listen to them – and you might not always like what you hear.

Your team will reflect back the best and worst of you as their leader – and you have to listen to learn, as painful as that might sometimes be.

The negative feedback is often the most powerful, as long as you address and fix if that is required. If you listen without action the impact is soon lost, as will your team respect, and eventually your team.

  1. Get some good trouble going on

The best phase of the webinar – Intelligent Disobedience – you have hired all these great, bright minds and it is really easy to then box them into your way of thinking.

Don’t let that happen, have stand up challenge sessions with an open forum for constructive destruction of the latest marketing campaign, sales tool or meeting.

Keep an eye on your team, if you see characters changing and people stopping saying what they think pick that up, find out why – if honesty is lost our crew will lose heart and that’s not going to keep us moving forward.

The final thought is remembering why the sailors became pirates – and why you became a founder.

Did you get sick of working for the man, being told what to do, being focussed on sales not values?

Now you are running a business are you being dragged into being that man?

Rebel – be more pirate – and turn that ship around, and get the fun back into being a founder

If you missed the interview you can catch up here