Story image
The Venn Diagram of Awesomeness
CEO & Founder, Tarek Kamil, reflects on the power of passion & skill - How do you put your employees/peers in a position to be awesome? 

If you're like me, when you hear the words "Venn Diagram", you instantly think, "I wonder how many Fast and Furious movies they're up to now." Ok, maybe I'm the only one that thinks of Vin Diesel and chuckles. (BTW, the answer is 8 if you're curious. Shocking, I know.)

Bad news for some of you - this isn't a piece on the awesomeness of Vin Diesel. If you've arrived via Google search, you can curse me and hit the back button now. This is a piece on how to put people in a position to be awesome - I'm talking Chuck Norris awesome.

I've been an entrepreneur for a long time. Year 21 at the time of writing this. Entrepreneurship is really about learning. Lots and lots of learning. Multiply by 21 years. I believe that puts me in Gandalf territory (more likely fossil territory but whatever). So, how do you put people in a position to be awesome? I'm sure you've heard about the intersection of passion and skill. I think those are extremely important but I've learned there are two other ingredients required for awesomeness. Without further adieu, here's the recipe for awesomeness:

  1. 1/4 Cup Passion: to create something great, you have to be thinking about it more than you could ever admit without being considered insane.
  2. 1/4 Cup Skill: you need the skills to bring that vision to life.
  3. 1/4 Cup Autonomy: eliminate the guard rails. Never, ever utter the words "but this is how we've always done it". Seriously, never.
  4. 1/4 Cup Safety: the last ingredient for awesomeness is an environment where it is safe to both question and safe to fail. Innovation can only come by accident (oops, dropped the chocolate into the peanut butter) or by questioning. Does your culture encourage or discourage questioning? There's probably a high correlation with your answer and the innovation within your company/organization.
  5. Mix together evenly. Enjoy!

I was reminded of this recipe when I asked our marketing team to come up with a video that explains Cerkl in way that is true to our nature and culture. Not an easy task. Anytime you need to explain a new way of doing something, it's a challenge. In addition, I tasked them with making it entertaining because, well, that's how I want to be treated.

Here's what they came up with and I'll explain why this impressed me below...

Here's why I love it:

  1. This was all their idea. A collective idea. I had no idea what they were doing until it was done. Ah, freedom from that jerk Gandalf!
  2. The lead actor is our intern, Connor Sweeney.
  3. The video was edited by another one of our interns, Michael Musilli.
  4. Graphics and effects by a former intern and now employee, Sam Huber.
  5. Direction came from the watchful eye of Rachel Folz.
  6. Everyone you see is a Cerkl employee.
  7. The entire cost to do this was $350 (including food!) and they did it in 2 weeks.

Often times we stand in our own way of being awesome. What can people do if you remove their fear of failing and takeaway the guardrails? I think you'll be surprised...just as surprised as when the 9th Fast and Furious movie hits theaters in 2019.