Working at a startup of any kind is a challenging task. Startups require long hours, hard work, and faith that what you are doing is building towards something great. At a startup it is easy to get caught up in the set backs, or distracted by the constant change around you, but that’s why it’s critical to have a positive anchor that everyone can relate to in the office.
At Elastic, we have The Closing Bell.
Whenever a sale is made or a deal is closed, the individual who closed the deal walks over to our little, brass, dinner bell and rings it as if to be heard from sea to shining sea.
Whenever The Bell is rung, everyone in the office gives a round of applause (if it’s a big deal you can usually hear a few screams and cheers) and you can actually see everyone’s spirits get lifted a little higher in the office. The sun shines brighter, everyone has a pep in their step, and deals seem easier to come by.
It wasn’t until I came to Elastic that I realized how important it is to have a tangible sign of something good happening. At startups, especially younger startups, there often aren’t individual victories. At a startup, everyone is part of a team working together to build the vision they see in the future. Just as challenges and set backs are shared by the company as a whole, good things, “wins,” should be shared by everyone as well. A “win” at a startup is never the product of just one person. Rather it’s the product of a group of people who contributed little parts to a greater whole.
Ringing a bell, lighting fireworks, or running around giving high-fives every time there is a “win” at the office is a great way to build up everyone’s morale. If someone is having a rough day or questioning what they are doing at a startup: working long days, building something that other people may not believe in yet, something as simple as ringing a bell can lift their spirits. It is a tangible signal that lets everyone in the office know that what we are working towards is worth it, and that we are seeing positive results.
My first day at Elastic I remember seeing The Bell and thinking that was kind of silly. What kind of office was I working in where they would celebrate their victories by ringing a bell? But after a few days, it was easy to see the value The Bell provided in the office. I still remember the first time I closed a deal and the feeling I got as everyone came over to congratulate me on my first “win.”
When I rang the bell for the first time: it was to thank everyone who had helped me in the office and made me feel comfortable; it was to let everyone know that we were building towards something successful; it was to lift everyone’s spirits and keep them motivated.
A bell is not going to be right for everyone at every office, but I would highly recommend all startups have a positive anchor that everyone in the office can relate to and use.