Carpedia’s Business Principles
The history of Carpedia’s 52 Maxims
maxim | ‘maksim|
a short, pithy statement expressing a general truth or rule of conduct
Carpédia’s Maxims are a collection of ideas that we use to guide the values and behaviors of our company. The maxims originated when Carpedia was started, only at that time they were called Principles. They were based on the wisdom of people who had influenced Carpedia’s founders and were intended to provide insights to new consultants and to remind more seasoned consultants about certain truisms that are typical in the industry. These “truisms” pass down knowledge that is often learned after project and relationship mistakes and breakdowns. The hope was that knowledge, rather than experience, could help someone avoid certain predictable problems.
They were originally part of the company Policies and Procedures Manual but they tended to be read once and then forgotten. As the company grew we started to notice that whenever we got ourselves into trouble on a project, it was almost always because we had not paid attention to one, or a number of the maxims. Unfortunately we didn’t know of any good way to teach and reinforce the principles in a systematic manner. We learned an approach when we first went to work for The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company.
The Ritz-Carlton had a similar concept which at the time they called “The Basics.” They had 18 fundamental basics that formed the backbone of the company’s behaviors and culture. What the Ritz did better than anyone we had seen was reinforce these basics daily in their 8:30 am Line up. At the Line Up everyone in the company spends 15 minutes getting aligned to key events going on in the hotel, special VIP guests, and anything else of particular note. Also everyday they discuss one of the Basics, and they share company stories that explain the concept.
We copied this idea with our own twist. We simplified the slightly awkward rotation of 18 maxims and created 31 maxims for each day of the month (31 days, 31 maxims) and sent a daily maxim to every employee which included the concept, an example story, and a reinforcing quote. After a few years we found that a daily maxim was too frequent for us and people were deleting the email without reflecting about the message. So we modified it to 52 Maxims (one each week). Increasing the number but reducing the frequency allows us to add to the messages and makes the arrival of a weekly maxim a little more novel, which gives our staff enough of a time gap to allow thoughtful reflection on the concept.
Many of our clients have expressed interest in the maxims as they are generally applicable to any business. As they are more a collection of other people’s bright ideas rather than anything proprietary to Carpedia, we decided to make them openly available for anyone who might find them of value. Join our mailing list and get the weekly maxims delivered to your inbox via email.