08 8 / 2012
One of our interns mentioned “It feels odd to say, but you guys are so NICE during the interview process and are even nicer in-person.” I smiled when I heard this because yes, it was odd to say, but also, it was so nice to say.
It seemed unusual to comment on because, wouldn’t you hope most folks are nice? But in my experience, there’s something about bringing people together at work that makes people feel like they are fighting over pieces of a pie, instead of uniting to make that pie grow. But what affects that?
There’s a bit of a chicken and egg question hidden in here - is it the organizational culture that makes us nice or is it something more inherent in each of us?
I would like to think that it’s both - we started with nice, fun folks who want to positively impact the world, and niceness is infectious. Sal’s personality set the pace and tone - and lucky for us, it is a fun, quirky, intellectual, innovative vibe that attracted some amazingly talented and nice folks. That vibe penetrated into our hiring process, where we hired more nice, fun, amazing people. And not surprisingly, those nice, fun people do nice, fun things like plan social outings or bake bread each week. And the more invested nice, fun people get in making work a great place, in turn it perpetuates more niceness and fun to pop up around the office. It’s a circle of niceness, you might say.
I am continually amazed by our folks here and usually comment on how smart and accomplished folks are, but perhaps the bigger distinction is how NICE these smart folks are. Craig gave us the biggest compliment when he commented that it’s rare to find a place with such super competent AND super nice people. Of course, we all blushed when Craig said that.
But really, how can you not be nice when folks are so nice? In the spirit of Sal’s 2012 Rice Commencement speech, perhaps test this theory: try being nice and see what comes back around. The world usually can use an extra smile or nice gesture. It’s like when you look at Mr. Happy, it’s hard not to smile back!