We try to hire people who have a “winning is everything” attitude. As a result, the competitive streak in this company scares me sometimes. Although this competitive fierceness could breed office politics and cutthroat behavior in other environments, our collective commitment to our five other core values keeps the competition directed outside of the Tiny Prints family.
There are so many examples of our fiery spirit here at Tiny Prints, but two that are ubiquitously shared by all of us come up during the holiday season and at any sort of company-sponsored competition.
I recently posted a recent debacle we had during Thanksgiving week, and that’s just one example of how this company has come together year after year after year. Between November and December, our little company generates roughly 50% of our entire annual revenues. And what’s even more significant is that more than half of that happens in the span of just three weeks. So while we spend six months preparing for this kind of madness, I’m sure you can appreciate that we can’t anticipate every single thing that will happen.
Naturally, we need the entire company to pitch in since even hiring additional staff for this kind of spike is impossible both physically and economically. Without fail each year, we have people with desk jobs sorting cards, printing mailing labels and more. Staff members who don’t even know how to use their desk phones answer calls from customers, some of us who do the two finger peck while typing chip in to answer emails and live chats.
And do we dread all this? Absolutely not. Many, if not all of us, wait all year long for this highlight to our year. With each satisfied customer or package shipped early, it’s like another tick on our scoreboard.
We have an electronic world map displayed on a big wall in the office, and each time an order is placed, a display pops up in the city where the customer lives. During the holidays, we get a kick out of seeing them pop up constantly like fireflies. When big milestones are met, we make an announcement over the intercom interrupting the entire company. When we hear one of our key competitors’ names, people get visibly angry, eyes turning red, and when we convert a competitor’s customer, we are high fiving in the cubicles…
The only time when competing against each other is allowed, sanctioned and highly encouraged is during our many competitions. I guess we treat these like refreshers or spring training to keep our edges sharp for the outside world. Whether it’s the annual Iron Chef or cake baking competitions, the Sumo wrestling matches during beer Fridays, the Tiny Prints Olympics in our back parking lot (with frozen pie eating contests, tricycle races, an obstacle course and tug of war), office decorating contests throughout the year and many more, it’s just pure fun to see our bunch of competitive wackos going head to head for the glory of a win.
Winning can take on a bad connotation, but we try to achieve the type of winning that you find yourself rooting for, like an underdog who has a shot at taking down a giant. We value winning, but only by playing fair, by ensuring that we don’t compete with each other and by understanding that when you refuse to compromise your core values, you might lose the battle, but you’ll definitely win when it counts.