The Familiar Credo

The Familiar Credo

When starting Familiar, ten of us came together for a day to discuss the possibility of starting a company, explore and exchange our personal values, and take a look at our enthusiasm for working together on something radical. This is what we came up with:

Our Credo

We believe…

On People
  • People are capable of amazing things. With a just little support and encouragement, people can achieve just about anything. No limits.
On Purpose
  • We exist as a community solely to help as many people as possible come to better understand themselves and what’s important to themselves as individuals; and to help each of them (us) make those important things happen.
  • We must subordinate everything else, even our very existence, to this Purpose.
  • To continue to fulfil our Purpose we must meet the basic needs of the group: food, money, shelter, peer respect, etc. (c.f. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs).
  • Just as creatures need air to live but do not live for air, we regard these basics as necessary prerequisites to continue living, but in no way the purpose of life.
On Success
  • We must measure our success in terms of the degree to which we meet our Purpose.
  • We can only gauge our success when we agree what it is we’re trying to achieve.
  • Success, particularly in the Information Age, depends utterly on having the full commitment of well-informed people who really want to make a difference.
  • Commercial success counts for nothing if we lose sight of our deeper Purpose.
  • We must constantly guard against gauging our success in terms familiar to other businesses (such as growth, profitability, financial wealth, fame, etc.).
  • Our emphasis on our Purpose will bring far more material success (as an inevitable by-product) than would ever be possible if we tried to make material success the end in itself.
On Sustainability
  • We can sustain our ideas, ideals, values, understandings, improvements and the like only by identifying or inventing suitable mechanisms and implementing them as integral elements of our enterprise.
On Work
  • Work can be the most fulfilling, exciting and absorbing activity known to man.
  • We oppose the notion that work has to be mundane – Death to Greyness!
  • Work exists both to provide people with an environment to find out more about themselves and what motivates them as individuals, and as a valuable forum for social interaction and exchange.
  • People must demonstrate their suitability for particular assignments – no one has an automatic right to meaningful work; it’s not part of the contract, folks!
  • People should regard working through Falling Blossoms as a form of social contract. So long as and to the extent that it suits all parties, it may continue – when it ceases to suit any party it need not continue (and no hard feelings!).
  • Combining all the various facets of life often seen as separate and distinct, such as work, play, social, domestic, fun, earning a living, etc. are all but different facets of the holistic entity that is Life.
On Trust
  • To allow personal growth and learning, and as a matter of simple respect, we have no alternative but to trust intelligent people to make their own choices.
  • People cannot reasonably demand or expect trust, they have to earn it.
On Respect
  • People must expect to be treated no better and no worse than they themselves would treat others.
  • People cannot reasonably demand or expect respect, they have to earn it.
On BHAGs
  • Our operational objectives (Big Hairy Audacious Goals) must always underpin and strengthen our Purpose, rather than undermine or sideline it.
On Commitment
  • Having someone take responsibility for resolving an issue requires them to have gained a certain awareness of the need to resolve that issue.
  • Having someone’s commitment to resolving an issue always requires them to have personally and intimately accepted responsibility for the issue.
  • Commitment therefore comes from an informed view of what needs doing, along with a basic necessary willingness to pitch-in and make a difference.
  • Our job is therefore to help folks become aware of what’s needed, and then help them become aware of ways of meeting those needs.
On Process
  • Intelligent, committed, experienced people still perform better, accomplish more, and have more fun, when supported by established ways of doing things (accepted local best practice).
On Competition
  • Even if we’re not constantly getting better at meeting our Purpose (and all the things that go to help make that happen), we can be certain our ‘competitors’ are.
  • In line with our view of Familiar as primarily a ‘community of practice’, we do not compete so much with other businesses, but rather other forms of community experience.
  • If we fail to compete on these terms, we cannot expect to retain people’s interest, involvement and commitment (at least, none who share our particular Purpose).
On Growth of the Enterprise
  • Growth for its own sake has little merit.
  • We will look to grow when and only when that growth allows us to move closer to meeting our Purpose, or to bring our Purpose to a wider community.
– Bob
6 comments
  1. Tobias said:

    > ” We must subordinate everything else, even our very existence, to this Purpose.”
    You would all die to help someone better understand him/herself? Are you proposing martyrdom?

    • Hi Tobias,

      My thanks for your inquiring and piercing questions. When I say “even our very existence” I mean “our very existence as a community”. In other words, the community should die (not its individual members) should it suborn its purpose.

      – Bob

      • Tobias said:

        I figured you weren’t talking martydom. It was just oddly worded—or oddly read.

  2. Tobias said:

    > “People cannot reasonably demand or expect trust, they have to earn it.”
    I strongly disagree with this. In the first instance trust must be freely given. And then the trust relationship regularly assessed, and improved.

    • I know what I meant when I wrote this, but I concede I worded it unclearly (it was 15 years ago). These days I might choose the following words to explain it better: “People cannot reasonably demand or expect trust, we all have to be prepared to leave our comfort zones and show vulnerability in order to build trust, together.”

      This video might help with some more context: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwj9bMLiV4E

      Is this closer to your viewpoint, or are we still far apart on this one?

      – Bob

      • Tobias said:

        much closer🙂

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