On the Value of Quirks

9 Dec

For the sake of those OST employees reading this, I am not talking about you.  This post is clearly about your coworkers.

Quirky Hanging TwixThis morning I was wandering on the third floor at the OST office and came across this scene.  I heard that one of our staff came in today singing Jingle Bells at the top of his voice.  And, as everyone would probably attest to, Chief Quirkiness Officer (CQO) might be an appropriate title for me.

We could all make a list of the interesting and quirky behavior of the OST team.  Candy bars suspended from the ceiling as a birthday surprise is just one of the indicators.

Clearly, this is part of the fun atmosphere at OST.  We don’t want to take ourselves too seriously. We enjoy the March Madness party, the Spartan/U of M/Notre Dame/Packers/Lions/etc. rivalries.  The not-too-serious “welcome to OST emails”. The spider jokes with Tracy.

But does it have purpose?  We are after all, a business.  I was asked this question quite seriously by a visitor that was new to OST.  They acknowledged the cool factor and that it would make it a fun place to work, but is there a value in this quirky corporate culture?

And after a few seconds of reflection I can categorically say, “yes, there is business value in the quirks.”

In the creation of a creative culture, personalization and attention to the individual means that we encourage and allow for the unique and valuable perspectives of everyone at OST.  We collectively adjust as we recognize our respective strengths and weaknesses.  This is embedded deeply in the OST psyche as Dan, Meredith and I each have our respective strengths and weaknesses which we each acknowledge, understand, and compensate for on an almost unconscious level.  And as our company grows, we want everyone in the OST family to know that their respective quirks may be a source of strength and fun for the organization.  Laughter is a great common language among high-performance people.

A few years ago I closed the OST company meeting with a quote from Paul’s writing in the New Testament.  He used the analogy of the body to talk about the value of the individual.  He asks the question, “If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?” Our unique abilities, strengths and yes even quirks and weaknesses can be crafted together to make a whole that is indeed greater than the sum of the parts:  the process maturity that people in the Ops side bring,  out of the box, creative thinking, tenaciousness and problem solving skills; people and communication skills, detail and big-picture concept communicators.  None of us has everything OST needs.

So take a little time and embrace your inner quirkiness here at OST.  Enjoy the quirks of your coworkers.

And don’t forget to wish Justin a happy birthday (didn’t know that he likes Twix until today).

Happy Birthday Justin

The Birthday Boy!

Jim VanderMey

5 Responses to “On the Value of Quirks”

  1. Matt December 9, 2011 at 11:20 am #

    Happy Birthday, Justin!

  2. Jeff December 9, 2011 at 11:36 am #

    HBD, Mr. Keithley!

  3. Brent December 9, 2011 at 2:51 pm #

    Now I know why Lisa quit bringing me Twix bars.

  4. Joe Sonheim January 9, 2012 at 12:34 pm #

    Here’s an interesting follow-up read for fans of the post!
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0330448110?ie=UTF8&tag=httpricharcom-21&linkCode=xm2&camp=1634&creativeASIN=0330448110a

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Vice Presidential Lemonade Stand « OST Kitchen - February 1, 2012

    [...] OST prides itself on being innovative, meeting tough deadlines, and yes, even being a little bit quirky. Within mere seconds we had developed a plan to lure in Mr. Biden. With no time for cookies, we [...]

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