It’s the mortar, not just the bricks

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The CTO gave a speech to his team, this post is a rewriting of that speech, reformatted to fit your screen.

If your company is anything like mine, you have an amazing team. You’re madly successful. You always have bugs to work, things to tweak, but as long as you have your eyes on greatness, nothing can stop you.

I’m sure you have some killer brains. All your employees. New, old. These are the bricks. The bricks that form your company.

But what is the mortar? It’s makes you share ideas and teach each other.


Some of your guys may be self taught. Some still sucking on the linux pacifier, or reading website FAQ’s. But that’s fine. We know where to get information from. And that’s fine.

We need to be constantly learning.

Constantly teaching.

What prompts us to share ideas and concerns?

What prompts us to share ideas and concerns, contribute to one another’s thinking, and warn the group early about potential risks is our connection to one another.  This is the mortar.

Social connectedness. How we feel about one another. Our focus.

Perhaps that is having support on the front line, and dev providing the ammo.

And if you’re a sales organization, the heart of what you do is sell. And so you all back up the sales guys so they can do what they do.

But it’s the social ties that lie at the heart of our culture. It’s what we depend on — and it is what we  generate.


As a company, you have to think good and hard about that. Even with an amazing team, amazing bricks.  Nothing will hold you together.

Without mortar, you can do nothing. Without cohesion, nothing.


Now, you can’t force this. You can’t force team building. Of course, you can do training exercises and team building courses, but I don’t believe in that. I believe in natural connections. We earn our trust.

What you can do is force conversations, and maybe even empathy.


Everyone has their mottos, their signatures.

Everyone has their mottos, their signatures. They make us unique. Some of us use Facebook and post them. Others we keep hidden.

Well you have to hear them. To memorize them. Everyone should know what the mottos we each live by.

I wanted to do this in my company; I want to be reminded of that shit everyday when I walk into the office. And I want each of my employees to do it as well.

I had everyone in my company claim a brick on our building (tiles really, but let’s hang on to the symbolism). And I had them write their message. Their motto. What makes them each unique.

Now every morning when we walk in, we take a moment to see. To look. And get inspired by each other.

This is what dries the mortar. This what bonds our company together. When we all work together, and know each other doing it, we can achieve anything.

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