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We Need More Calm Companies

Calm Companies

Here is my list of Calm Company attributes:

  • Profitable: Calm Companies have a strong financial engine working with good margins. This foundation enables everything else.

  • Purpose: Calm Companies have a strong sense of purpose: “What are we building this company for?” Generally, there’s an internal purpose: “to improve the lives of the people working here,” and an external purpose: “to help more creators get their message into the world.”

  • Freedom and Flexibility: As founders, we build businesses to give us more freedom. A Calm Company gives team members the flexibility to live well, pursue hobbies, exercise, take breaks, go on trips, and connect with family and friends.

  • Fun: Calm Companies produce more opportunities for fun. “What if we ran this event?” “What if we went on a team retreat in the mountains?” “What if we put an easter egg on our website that plays a silly song?” “What if we made some fun stickers?”

  • Mindful: At a Calm Company, decisions and commitments are made mindfully. We ask: will this decision make our lives worse? More stressful? Does it align with our values? Will this commitment add too much weight to our culture?

  • Sustainable Growth: Calm Companies want to grow but at a sustainable pace. Growth should serve a higher purpose. Ambition is good, but not at the expense of well-being.

  • Calm Work Environment: Stress and chaos are replaced with clear work goals, boundaries, and communication.

Frenzied Companies

Let’s contrast the idea of a Calm Company with that of a Frenzied Company.

A frenzied company is perpetually in crisis. They have a culture of impossible deadlines and unrealistic expectations.

Managers pressure employees to constantly be “on” and “available,” even after work hours.

An implicit—or sometimes explicitly stated—threat hangs over everyone’s head: “If things don’t turn around, jobs will be lost.”

Managers frequently dump their stress and anxiety on their staff. Employees regularly find themselves absorbing negative emotions from work. They come home feeling drained and overwhelmed.