One day, MailChimp CEO Ben Chestnut discovered that his company had acquired a new tagline. Chestnut hadn’t approved, or even known about this rather significant new bit of corporate identity, but there it was–“Love What You Do”–on the footer of the company website. At most companies, changing a piece of punctuation in a line of ad copy takes three weeks of meetings between about 14 people across six departments. So typically this would be the kind of occasion that terms like “tearing a new one” and “terminated with extreme prejudice” were made for.
Chestnut, the founder of email marketing and newsletter company MailChimp, does things a little differently. He stormed into the marketing and design departments and demanded they come up with a coloring book called Love What You Do, featuring baby Freddie Chimpenheimer (excerpt: “Hi I’m Freddie. It’s fun to be me! Is it fun to be you?”). Sure, the CEO was a little concerned that he hadn’t known about the tag, but, as he noted in a blog post on the incident, it was “pretty spot-on, so I got over it.”
The culture of giving people “permission to be creative,” has been one of the keys to MailChimp’s success
“We provide an environment that allows for, and encourages, acting on spontaneous creativity,” says Kurzius. When employees feel safe sharing their new ideas–no matter how goofy–and have the freedom to pursue them, good things ultimately arise. “I plant the seed and water it and then stand back and watch it grow,” he says. “Outside of being accountable to our customers, the less formality, the better.”
Such a corporate culture is priceless!!! Micromanaging is a killer of creativity! Let innovation come out spontaneously and encourage free trial on ideas and support even if they failed.