This is a reverse-guesting episode where I was interviewed about my story in starting up SEO Hacker as the leading SEO Services company in the Philippines.
Gossip is the antithesis of unity… I can’t tell you that I know each and everything that’s happening in the office. But my team knows my stand on gossip.
What is your Why and how did you find it?
Our purpose statement is different from our mission and vision.
Our Why statement is we exist because the world is underserved by digital marketing companies. There are some out there that are not good, not outright, and even go as far as scamming companies.
There is a huge gap that is yet to be filled by digital marketing companies.
We exist because of that gap.
We want to serve the world, in the best way we can, through digital marketing.
My Why is directly related to my identity. I am a child of God and we have a mission. That is to go out and make disciples of all nations.
It’s not easy to influence millennials. We’re not all Christians in SEO Hacker. We hire any and all kinds of people with different beliefs. It’s just that one of the things that I want very much to happen is for them to get to know the Lord. That will always be my Why.
How I will be able to do that is dependent on where God has called me. Right now, God has called me to be a businessman, an entrepreneur, and a voice in the Philippine startup market.
People will not listen to you if you’re not good at what you’re called to be doing. You’ll just be another person with an opinion.
People will criticize you. Society will tell you to become successful. But when you are successful in a way, people are going to criticize you.
What I realized is that you should just go the path that you’re called to and don’t pay any mind to the critics.
There have been so many times when I heard voices from critics all around. If I let it get to me, then I wouldn’t be here today.
You have to realize that you’ve been fighting a worthy fight. There is a reason why you exist.
It’s your choice to allow what they say to get into your heart or not.
Unity is an important thing. How do you plan to keep everyone unified while still maintaining professionalism in the workplace?
First, we have to educate them on the five enemies of unity.
The first enemy is gossip. It is the antithesis of unity. With it, you can never have unity in your team. It breaks down trust.
Without trust, you cannot have unity.
I can’t tell you that I know each and everything that’s happening in the office. But my team knows my stand on gossip.
It’s an everyday fight. You have to make an effort to keep these things at bay because if you let your guard down, these things will really wreak havoc within your team.
The second thing I really don’t like is unresolved conflict.
If there are people between teams that don’t see eye-to-eye, have bitterness in their hearts. They might even go as far as to sabotage each other’s output.
When that happens, both you, your clients, and your shareholders will suffer. This can lead to letting go of people just because you’re not making enough revenue.
When you know something is happening between two members of your team, get them in a room and act as a mediator in their alignment.
I don’t require my people to become friends, even outside of work. What I require is that they respect one another.
The third enemy of gossip is sanctioned incompetence.
If you tolerate incompetence in your team, they will follow suit with it—creating more mediocre output.
They will hate you for it because you’re protecting a donkey, while you let your stallions suffer, or worse, leave.
You’ll lose loyalty and your unity will breakdown.
Next is the lack of a shared vision.
It’s difficult to run a united team when everyone is going into different directions.
You always have to pull them back in line.
During our lunch breaks, we make sure to recite our core values, mission, and vision. We also have our purpose statements in our meeting areas.
It’s clear where we are going.
The main problem with vision is that it leaks. Sometimes people just lose sight of it.
Last is poor communication.
A lot of companies run their organization by just giving a map to their people saying this is where the party is at. Be there on time so we can have fun.
But when people use the map, it’s vague and ultimately takes them to the wrong places. These people get frustrated, get angry, and then vent out to other people leading to gossip.
When you have poor communication, your people will get frustrated. The reason why there’s poor communication is that the management is afraid to communicate or they’re so arrogant that they keep things from the team.
When you keep things from the team, you undergo mushroom communication. You leave your people in the dark and give them crap—that’s how you grow mushrooms.
In SEO Hacker, we would rather overcommunicate. I would tell my team that they are mature individuals and adults and I will treat you as such. But you must carry the burden of keeping things in the circle and solving the problems within the meeting.
I give them the burden of being mature individuals who will carry the burden with me.
This is done without gossiping, but instead by communicating clearly.
All of these things are being wrapped up in software that we develop and use internally. It’s called Teamstrr and we will be opening it up to the public this May.
Teamstrr has helped keep the team as united as it’s ever been. And I know how hard it is to feel betrayed, to experience the mutinies and mass resignations.
Right now, we have the greatest number of people, which means there is the most number of tendencies for these mutinies to happen, but it doesn’t.
And that’s because we have been communicating the importance of unity and we have Teamstrr that helps keep unity intact in the company.