You vs. Your Company
March 1, 2018

You vs. Your Company

by Brian de Haaff

What motivates you at work? We all have ambitions regardless of our role — individual contributors, managers, and executives. Ambition is good and it should be encouraged. But if your priority is reaching superstar status, you will almost always fall short.

Finding the balance between your own career interests and the goals of the company is the surest way to meaningful growth and success. In fact, if you work at a company whose mission you believe in and whose values match your own, it should be realistic and even easy to find that harmony.

So is it you versus your company? No. The two should never be mutually exclusive.

Honoring the ambition of the individual and the team is something we strive for at Aha! — it is especially important because we are growing fast. We believe that transparency and trust guide the way.

True superstars know that awesome achievement takes a team. Growth comes from putting yourself in a position to learn and achieve with others.

Here is how our team approaches this balancing act:

Set audacious goals Ambitious people seek out companies with big visions and teams that are working against bold goals. The best way to achieve at a high level for yourself and for the company is to both work towards audacious goals. Everyone wins when the aim is greatness.

Connect with the plan Understanding your role in the bigger picture gives you a sense of purpose and adds meaning to your work. This is a priority at Aha! Every Friday, we gather the entire company together to review progress against the plan we set and the actual work we are all doing to achieve it. This lets everybody see how their individual work contributes to the company’s success.

Give and take direct feedback Lasting success and happiness originate in respect for and service to others. This does not require a leadership title. Everybody on the team can deliver frank and useful feedback to one another. This is one of the simplest ways to grow together. We also have team leads meet with every person in their group at least once a week — career and company goals are part of the conversation.

Honor effort Our team at Aha! recognizes outstanding efforts and contributions by growing and promoting from within. We check in and give each other feedback so much during the year that everybody always knows where they stand. Annual reviews become more of a celebration — a time to reflect on what we have accomplished together. We share what we are most proud of before turning our attention to what we will achieve together going forward.

Act with kindness Sometimes the company’s immediate focus requires individual teammates to wait on a personal growth area or achievement. Leaders strike the balance by being kind and showing empathy. This means being honest about the priorities and showing appreciation for the balance.

The relationship between you and your company should be rewarding.

By putting the goals of the organization first, its success will also be yours. This is not a matter of becoming totally selfless or subverting your identity. It is a matter of working with equally dedicated people towards a vision you all believe in.

How do you balance your career interests with your company’s goals?

Brian de Haaff

Brian de Haaff

Brian seeks business and wilderness adventure. He is the co-founder and CEO of Aha! — the world’s #1 product development software — and the author of the bestseller Lovability and The Startup Adventure newsletter. Brian writes and speaks about product and company growth and the journey of pursuing a meaningful life.

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