This week Basecamp CEO Jason Fried announced a new policy announcement that was posted in a blog post titled “Changes to Basecamp”. The most notable and controversial of all are: “No more social and political discussions about our Basecamp account”. , “No more committees” and “No longer dwell or dwell on previous decisions”.
While some of the new guidelines have had a positive response to the way technology companies should, could, and will do business, readers were shocked to find out about its particular stance on freedom of expression, diversity, and freedom of expression because of the company’s historically transparent stance Culture experienced self-reflection.
Basecamp co-founders Jason Fried and David Heineimeier Hansson wrote memos on the policy changes that sparked wide-ranging discussion in and outside Silicon Valley. Fried and Hansson are seen and respected as empathetic thought leaders when it comes to corporate culture, remote working and collaboration. In the 22 years of its existence, Basecamp has represented a variety of political positions, which all employees were encouraged to discuss.
Although many tech CEOs’ operational decisions often depend on a real venture capitalist assumption, I thought I would add to this discourse as a black woman (she / she) running a tech company that relies on the fact that it has a diverse representation Workforce Matters Business Need and share why I believe blocking employee language is a dangerous game. If you’re thinking about how to move DE&I forward in your company, here are some tips based on where – I believe – Basecamp failed.
1. The elimination of freedom of speech is just as oppressive and dumbing as “breaking off culture”.
It is possible to stifle the goals and vision of a company that has a mission to make the world a better place under the guise of operational efficiency. There is an early Greek myth of Icarus that corresponds so clearly with this one. Icarus’ father built wings so his son could learn to fly like a bird. Confused by this gift, Icarus ignores his father’s warning and flies too close to the sun, melting his homemade wax wings and causing the dominance of gravity to plunge him back to earth.
In this today’s equivalent, sun and gravity are the juxtaposition of warriors of rightness, democratic fairness and social justice who travel on Twitter to dismantle systemic institutions by destroying reputation and enabling “culture break”.
Over the past week, interviews with Basecamp employees have expressed a general desire to improve Basecamp’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion by having sensitive discussions about where the company has failed in the past. After some emotionally charged discussion, Fried and his co-founder decided to do this in full cancel these conversations.
“Ultimately, we are of the opinion that this is the long-term healthy way for Basecamp as a whole – the company and our products,” Fried wrote in the blog post.
Although I believe its intent is conscientious, the abolition culture is an ideology dedicated to the elimination of redemption, resolution, and discourse. This is exactly what the leaders of the base camp promote by dismantling DE&I committees, discouraging self-reflection and political measures prohibiting dialogue.
Basecamp’s announcement of offering severance packages for employees who disagreed with the new guidelines – especially the leadership that bans political discourse and internal committees – is no different from Twitter communities that people politically and socially for recent or past Penalize violations. Eliminate the sources of discourse and the environments in which this discourse was once accepted or nurtured is destructive to culture. It is assumed that convenience, or especially convenience, takes precedence. white comfortthat has historically alienated generations of BIPOC people from thriving, mobilizing, or simply alienating them Be in company premises.
2. The inconsistency between what you say and what you do is palpable. As soon as you have declared the change, you commit to it.
Last year, the software company launched an email service called Hey, widely recognized for making “opinion-based software.” The creation of this software required the input and intellectual property of opinion leaders, whose historically opinion-forming leaders have now invalidated, discredited and beaten the opinion.
The only exception to this rule is whether or not the opinions expressed are “business related”. To suspect or encourage that DE&I is not business related is to do business ignorantly. Even Fried wrote an essay in Inc. in 2017 on the ultimate intent for all DE&I endeavors. “If you want your workforce to reflect the rest of the world (and your customers), change your behavior,” Fried wrote.
“A few years ago, some of our employees raised concerns about our general lack of diversity. It wasn’t brought about by reading a study or trying to get any diversity number. It was more of a gut feeling. It just didn’t feel right. We had to change. ”
The inequality in what you say and what you do is palpable. It is impossible to ignore. Basecamps “change” or “prioritization” by DE & I was recognized by opinions and then mobilized. If executives became aware of this problem solely through freedom of expression, eliminating this problem will only create an environment for homogeneous behavior and, as Fried noted in the Inc. article, ultimately hurt business.
3. A thriving business is aware; Self-reflection is a mandatory preparatory step to growth.
According to the blog post, all of the things DE&I has in basecamp have been lumped together and packaged to fall under the jurisdiction of the Head of People Ops. The most worrying thing about it is the reality of overpowering and deprioritization. There’s a reason entire roles were created to address the problem of diversity of thoughts, experiences, and identity. In any other business case, problems can easily slip through the cracks if executives do not explicitly state their goals and assign parameters for incentives to be accountable. What would DE & I do differently?
Pema Chödrön, an American-born Tibetan Buddhist, once said: “There is no point in getting rid of our so-called negative aspects, because in doing so we also get rid of our basic wonder.” Trying to avoid or eliminate “negative aspects” of our culture can often stifle the innovation it takes to turn into something truly world-changing. When wealth manifests in many forms, when we fully participate in all aspects of life, it is through this state of growth that we can truly express our nature – or in a corporate setting – our culture.
Ultimately, we may be inspired to rogue Basecamp and its leaders for instituting and enforcing these types of guidelines, but we cannot ignore the reality that this reflects what Corporate America is and always has been in this country. It has always upheld the ideology of the white supremacists under the guise of operational effectiveness. This inspired me and my co-founders to develop PeduL, a corporate diversity hack to find and connect with underrepresented talent through scholarship programs. In Fried’s view, diversity, equity and inclusion cannot happen by chance. It has to be a deliberate affirmation of behavior and then a tedious and uncomfortable change. We cannot ignore that restricting internal conversations in the workplace can adversely affect and affect all advances in diversity, equity and inclusion. When we want our jobs to reflect the world we live in, investments and intentions cannot be an afterthought. The companies that are win are those who understand that they need to find new and innovative ways to discard complacency, eradicate laziness, and denounce the aversion to the problem that “nobody wants to talk about”.