Introducing new Fishbones' company values
24 August 2023
Commentary by Eirik Renli, CEO
11 years ago, I took the decision to leave Baker Hughes – where I had spent the best part of three decades – to join Fishbones. We were just three employees back then, united behind a common goal to introduce and deliver game-changing stimulation technology to the market.
That objective remains true to this day; however, our team has since grown to more than 40 employees from 14 different countries. As our company evolves, so do our values.
Up until recently, we were guided by company values set by our management team several years ago. As we continue to grow, however, we recognize the need for adaptability and fresh ideas. I’m a firm believer in establishing common ground for everyone within the company.
At Fishbones, we are lucky to have a fantastic team of passionate individuals with a vast array of skill sets. To make the most of our expertise, we need everyone to be pulling in the same direction, and that starts with a set of core values shaped by the collective.
In May 2023, the entire Fishbones team convened in the beautiful Norwegian coastal town of Farsund for an open discussion and assessment of our company culture and values.
We enlisted the external help of experts from PwC to lead two half-day workshops on company culture and values. I took great satisfaction from seeing the entire team engage in thoughtful, inspiring discussions around what it means to work for Fishbones and how we want to be perceived.
The brainstorming led to a list of 50 potential company values that, following several rounds of voting from all employees, were narrowed down to five core values:
We have numerous examples of where things have gone wrong because of a breakdown in teamwork and communication. On the other hand, we also have plenty of success stories where teamwork has been key to delivering a first-class service to our customers. We were all in agreement that Fishbones’ current and future success is heavily reliant on great teamwork, both internally and with external suppliers and customers.
Making a Difference
At Fishbones, we take great pride in adding value to our customers’ operations. Our groundbreaking technology helps reduce cost, increase production and limit Co2 emissions. We believe we are the only company within this market segment who can deliver all three in one go. Every job we do is about ensuring we make a positive difference to our customers’ operations.
Open & Honest
I believe honesty and openness to be an extremely important component of any successful business. As I often remind our employees: You’re allowed to make mistakes – just don’t try to hide them. I am supporting a quote once made by Georghe Bernard Shaw: “A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.” The key is to be open and honest so that we can learn from it.
One way to achieve that is through our open working structure. It’s a short way from the bottom to the top at Fishbones; my door is always open.
Once a month, I lead a town hall meeting with all our staff. The goal is to ensure transparency and to make sure everyone is aligned and up to speed on what’s going on. In our town hall meetings, we discuss everything from financial updates and customer issues to people development and everything in between. We don’t hide anything from each other.
This one speaks for itself I think. We all want to deliver excellence for our customers. There was a bit of back and forth during our workshop about which term to use for this, however, we all agreed that excellence was simple and to the point: We strive to provide a flawless, high-quality service throughout our customer journey.
From day one at our company gathering, it was clear that respect in the workplace was very important to our employees. We pride ourselves in having a diverse workforce at Fishbones, with people from 14 different countries based around the globe. Whenever you have a coming together of different languages, religions and cultures it’s important to be respectful of one and other.
Our overall company culture is quite Norwegian in nature, particularly with regard to openness, but it is nonetheless shaped by a variety of cultures and ways of working. By respecting each other, we allow everyone to feel valued – which ultimately leads to a happier and more productive workplace.
It goes without saying that showing respect extends to all areas of our operations, particularly when it comes to working with our customers, partners and suppliers. The same applies to our approach to the various industry laws and regulations and to environmental matters.
Embracing our core values
One of the many advantages of allowing core values to be shaped by our employees is that it gets instant buy-in from them. That being said, my job as CEO is to consistently re-enforce those values both internally and externally and to encourage employee advocacy.
I’m already seeing the benefits. For example, in a recent round of interviews we had several candidates tell us they had heard Fishbones was a good place to work. This is precisely the reputation we wish to build to improve the workplace happiness of our employees and to attract new talent in the years to come.
Deciding on a set of company values is the easy party. Staying true to them is what will ultimately benefit the company in the long term.