KDV in Portugal

Escaping the tick-box mentality

Following a fantastic few days in Portugal with the team on a Carla Gilder Fitness holiday, it seemed an appropriate time to stop and reflect on how we do things. The way we work and how we implement policies within Kan Do Venture is something I’m incredibly proud of. We pride ourselves on doing things the Kan Do way.

Just to tick a box, not adding value

“That box is ticked.”

“We’ve been re-chipped.”

“The PC police say we cannot do that.”

These statements seem to feature in regular conversations in the corporate world.  While I (personally) understand the need for policy, tarring everyone with the same brush is a very simple way to enact a policy. However, it also goes a long way to making your staff – the people who make things happen – feel undervalued and like they cannot be trusted.  

What does the policy actually drive?

All too often I have seen policies stuck on a wall with a squiggle on it to show that a company has the required policy.  Does it actually mean anything more than the policy ticks another corporate box?

After writing a policy, it’s essential to implement, sustainably embed it and ensure that it is adhered to.  And now begins the true tick-box world of inefficiency.  If these words are ringing true to you, have a look at what you do.  Is it actually adding value to the day to day running of the business?  Or is it being done because someone had to write a policy and an action plan and now, you’re stuck ticking their boxes for them!

I am not for one minute saying that you should throw the policy out. Some of the tick boxes will be required to meet rules and regulations. But it is essential to know the difference between fulfilling the minimum legal requirements and adding value to your business. 

The Kan Do Ventures approach

My biggest focus on is two required company policies – Health and Wellbeing, and Diversity and Inclusion.  I have seen these two policies become a tick box exercise. In the past, I have even joked that I (being Chinese) immediately tick a diversity box for a department, as does my wife, who is a female engineer.  

As the Director of Kan Do Ventures, I like to do things slightly differently.  Ask any member of the team and they will roll their eyes, and say, “Here he goes again!”. But then we will discuss whether it is right or wrong, whether it adds value to the business and if it’s right we’ll get on with it.  

Health, Wellbeing and Fun Mission

I am personally very proud of having a health, wellbeing and fun mission at Kan Do Ventures.  This is definitely a way of life for the team and me, and so much more than a traditional health and wellbeing policy that is purely a tick box exercise.  Daily fresh air and exercise during the working day has become a habit, making sure that we get some Vitamin D and a change of perspective each day.  This makes us more productive, but also having time together away from the job makes us a close team with a really supportive culture.  

Our annual fitness holiday in Portugal and team building breaks to celebrate Christmas are key features in our calendar. These breaks have provided more opportunity to challenge ourselves physically as well as doing activities outside our comfort zones. And it is this that has created a very strong foundation to build our business on.

Another part of the health, wellbeing and fun mission is for each of us to have a personal challenge, while raising money for a charity close to our hearts.  In 2019, we have run four half marathons, and over 100km for the British Heart Foundation.  These events have challenged each of us individually, and for me, running 3km every day for a month has been harder than expected!!

Diversity and Inclusion

With diversity and inclusion, we recruit on diversity of experience and perspectives.  Attitude and work ethic is really important, but having a truly diverse team in terms of experience and ways of thinking is essential. It means that we are able to challenge each other to get the job done in the right way.  If you’re the best person for the job, then you should be doing it, regardless of the policy.  Just look at our team and you’ll see we all come from different industries and our common goal is to do the right thing in the Kan Do Ventures way.

If you want to talk about how to implement truly value-adding policies, please contact a member of the team.