Let My People Go Surfing

A tweet from Ryan Carson yesterday, led me to Howies about page; a page which Ryan described as “inspiring” and I can see why.

There are two sections of Howies our beliefs page that I think are fantastic:

The rocking chair test
Every product we make has passed the ‘rocking chair test’. This is something we use to guide us along the path we are taking. So when we are old and grey and sitting in our rocking chairs, we can look back on the company we created with a smile. That’s why we go to the trouble of using the best quality materials to make sure our clothing lasts longer. The longer our products last the less impact they will have on the environment, and the bigger our smile will be

We are trying to get the balance right between work and play. Whenever a real nice day comes along, it’d be a shame to waste it. So if you phone up and no-one answers, don’t worry. We are out there doing what we love. So leave a message and we’ll get back to you in a while

I think the rocking chair test should be adopted by all companies as a measure of success – are you proud of what you are doing and have done? Does it make you smile?

Howies “policy” on fun is clearly influenced by Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard – owner of Patagonia; a book that I hadn’t heard of before but found on Howies site in their stuff we love section.

Yvon Chouinard allows his staff to use flexi-time to go surfing when conditions are good. Very cool and very much in keeping with my previous article; Yvon Chouinard clearly treats his people like grown ups. As with Carsonified I bet the people at Patagonia feel valued and trusted and so just naturally give more to the business and enjoy doing so.

The book sounds really interesting, so I’ve ordered a copy to read on holiday next week.

It’s a shame that so few companies have this enlightened approach but good to see that there are some brave and visionary leaders out there that do.