Welcome to TL;DR (Tracy’s Latest Discussion Recap). We’re keeping you up to date on thought leadership from Tracy Lawrence, CEO & Co-Founder of Chewse. Today’s topic: how we balance being a high-growth office food delivery company while also being a love company. AKA: where our Love & Excellence culture comes from.
At Chewse, we live by six values, broken up into two pillars: Love and Excellence. Love states we need to care about our people in order to have a healthy, thriving culture. Excellence means we can’t care about our people without holding them to their highest potential. And if we are to hold them to their highest potential, we need to care about them… the loop continues. We believe you can’t have Love without Excellence or Excellence without Love.
Our Love and Excellence culture has grown as we have. Our six defined pillars (above) have always guided us, but were only put into concrete words in early 2019. Chewse has been a Love company since its inception, and though we’ve always held growth and excellence as important, defining them as equal to love took a spark of inspiration – and courage – from Chewse founder and CEO, Tracy Lawrence.
Planting the seed for Excellence
Chewse is a high-growth company. We’ve raised $40M in venture-capital funding, grown to 6 markets, and broadened our office food delivery options – from lunch and dinner to breakfast, happy hour, and treats. Our hosted experience, delivery service, and proprietary meal platform have grown from the original company model, which was built on a Word Document and eFax membership.
In July of 2016, Tracy posted a short Medium post titled Is a love culture at odds with fast growth? Chewse’s first foray into love and excellence included the challenge of asking how we can be a love company when we’re growing and adapting to the challenges we face. As Tracy wrote in her Medium post:
“But, given the refrain of how fast growth kills healthy culture, people (including our team) ask how [being a Love company] will scale.”
Our ultimate conclusion: the lightbulb-moment that Love can’t exist without Excellence, would come later. But even in 2016, Tracy stood by the fact:
“Without discipline and the push for better [that Excellence brings], you have a free love commune, not a business. Without love, you lack the humanity that makes growth sustainable – you burn people out.”
It all comes back to authentic connection
Both Love and Excellence rely on a central principle: a united office where people care about one another. Authenticity is inherent in both pillars: you can’t Love someone without understanding who they are – as an individual. But in order to expect the best from someone, you have to know them.
Authenticity is sorely lacking in the office – and workplace loneliness is on the rise as a result. As Tracy wrote, back in 2016:
“In millions of offices across the world, people live their 9-5 without authentic connection.”
At Chewse, we’re bridging that connection gap – not just in our own offices, but in the offices we serve as well. Catering and office food delivery options are the best way to authentically connect with the people around you. During mealtime, employees have the chance to disengage from their screens and get to know coworkers on their teams, in their department, and across the company. We’ve written more about the benefits of an office catering program – read more and download our eBook here.
So: IS a love culture at odds with fast growth?
Tracy, in her first step on the path of declaring Chewse to be a Love and Excellence company, said “No.” Two years later, we say “No” even more firmly – a fast-growth company requires love.
Interested in reading more? Check out Tracy’s Medium post here.