Teal diary week #1: Embracing Chaos


Tom Wittlin writes…

If you know anything about Folk, you’ll know we’re not a traditional agency.

A lot of agencies brandish themselves as ‘different’, but seldom few actually demonstrate how they are.

The Folk difference has always been clear.

Begin with the purpose in mind and let that be the guide.

Not the spec, the budget, the whims of the stakeholders, the financial targets, the hits, the views, the shares or even the sales.

The purpose.

We’ve been banging on for day and age about how important it is to have a genuine, damn good reason to go out into the world and expect someone to part with their hard earned cash to own something you have got to sell - and to be 100% authentic, we’d admit to it working sometimes, and others less so.

The reason it wouldn’t is usually down to levels of acceptance everyone has to putting their hearts on their sleeves and genuinely wanting to make a difference - over making sales.

To be clear, this isn’t a slight on any client (or other company) for whom the temptation of huge profit margins becomes too big to ignore. We’re first to admit, to display this level of bravery is something that requires a complete shift of vision and mindset. All the fears the business would collapse, that it’s ‘not what people want’ and all the other excuses or thoughts that keep us in our boxes are experienced by people as completely real.

But they are just that - thoughts. They don’t really exist, unless you make them.

A willingness to let go of the old paradigms of how a business should be gives access to a completely new realm of possibility. It gives an individual, or an entire organisation a new sense of excitement that outsiders want to know about - they want in on, because, for some arcane reason, the people at this place not only WANT to work - they’re excited by it.

So what is it that drives that? And how do you stay fresh.

But not making an effort to ‘stay fresh’ - and simply allowing you to be yourself.

This has been our message to clients for years. We’ve always asked, “how can we demonstrate this level of bravery and attitude towards a new way of working that proves our commitment to be led by purpose?” and today that question was answered.

Last week was a momentous day for Folk. That morning, Jo, Folk’s founder dropped a 9am bombshell on the entire team.

Going forward, Folk would operate under the following set of rules:

No job titles.

No bosses.

No targets.

No KPIs.

No working hours.

No time tracking.

And no fear.

A bold move.

To take a company that has existed for the past several years on a very tight, rigid structure that many hours has been spent developing into; what would seem like to any outsider ‘utter chaos’ appears professional suicide.

But this is all about trust.

Jo spoke directly to the hearts not the minds of the team, when she shared her desire for us to create even better work for our clients, from a place of total authenticity and devoid of boundaries that she’s willing to jeopardise (potentially) everything in the next 6 days.

After her announcement took place, if we all wanted to bugger off to the pub without a single ounce of fear for reprimand, we could have done.

So far, nobody has.

Over the next 6 weeks, we'll be keeping a diary of the effect this extraordinary change in structure has on clients, the work we produce and the team itself. Our goal is to share how something as open minded (and hearted) as complete trust has on a team of 25 people who are all used to operating in a 9-5 mentality.

Until next week