Work like a pirate

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Work like a pirate

Last time we talked about what’s the positive sides to have a team. Now we’re talking about how we establish our team culture.

What’s a team culture?

By the most basic definition, a team culture is made up of the values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviours shared by a team. It’s how people work together towards a common goal and how they treat each other.

What we choose to do

Culture is a difficult concept to grasp because it’s generally unspoken and unwritten, so we decided to write it. We have to build a team culture around the principles of democracy, shared ownership, transparency, efficiency, and profitability. What we soon discovered was that it had already been done. Two hundred years ago.

By pirates!

Pirate crews of the 18th century learned a number of lessons about retaining talent and running a profitable business. Lessons that modern teams would be foolish to ignore.

Our team culture in DuckMa

Here, summarized in 10 rules, you will find our team culture:

A pirate is not his ship: sometimes you will not have the best ship (I mean a project). To compensate, be more creative and clever when dealing with your opponents.

Pirates move fast: you are a Pirate! Sometimes we sail turbulent seas! Flexibility and adaptability are your best weapons..
Pirates are a team: we’re all on the same boat: we work together and we help each other as a crew.

Pirates live by results: there’s a lot of treasure out there! If you are a pirate, you are striving for a big goal.
Pirates have to be creative: for now, we have a small ship and we‘re a small crew. We have to compensate by being more creative and using the resources we have to our best advantage.

In the crew every pirate is an owner: every pirate is responsible for the ship. Clean the vessel, do your duties and help your crew mates if they are in trouble.
In the crew, promotion comes from below: we are no navy! We are pirates! We’re structured, but every part of the crew has the right to speak up.

Look after your tools: every pirate is expected to keep his cutlass and pistol clean and ready for action.
We share the loot: from a captured ship, we’re allowed to take from the shared pool. We embrace profit sharing.

We have a map: we, as pirates, have goals to pursue, we have a map that shows where the treasure is! Never forget it!

«Why join the Navy if you can be a pirate?» (Steve Jobs)

So that’s how you establish a team culture. But remember, it is possible to grow and evolve a team’s culture over time. It all starts with identifying where you are now and where you want to be. The only way to make change is take ownership and action it as a united team.

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