At Field Verified, we make a living off of testing. But testing isn’t just for buildings. Testing makes everything — and everyone — better.
It makes buildings better by verifying that the work is done, that it meets certain criteria, and then makes sure that if processes need to change, contractors get that feedback. But it also makes people stronger every time you test. Because every time a person is tested, whether you’re testing yourself or being tested by circumstances, you gain an opportunity to become stronger and more sophisticated, depending on how you respond.
How do you react? Do you falsely blame others? Do you attribute the lack of success or the lack of craftsmanship or workmanship to someone else when it is actually within your power to do better?
But the question we should all be asking — right after “How do I develop a desire for personal testing and growth?” — is “How do I influence my organization’s culture toward growth through recognizing tests as opportunities?”
We can’t answer this for everybody, but here’s how we think about it at Field Verified.
How We Do It
How do we demonstrate our commitment to growth? We allow ourselves to be tested. Here’s what that looks like in action.
We Hire for Curiosity
We hire curious people who are up for the challenge. We look for people who are willing to take responsibility, people who are willing to learn, and people who are willing to fit into a culture of constant improvement. And you can’t improve without a healthy curiosity.
We Talk Over Problems without Rushing
Anxiety blocks curiosity and leaves group knowledge on the table.
We take as much time as we need to solve problems. This means hearing from others on the team, including the most junior people. If we’re rushed, some people won’t speak up, and we’ll jump to a conclusion, sometimes repeating the same behavior that caused the problem in the first place.
And there’s another benefit. Think about what happens when every team member is heard and understood, without leaving anyone behind. Your inexperienced people grasp concepts faster, giving you a stronger, more experienced team than you’d otherwise have.
We Commit to Understanding the Problem
We try to understand the problem at its basic level before jumping to a solution, especially when the problem hasn’t been solved yet. Because jumping to a solution without understanding the problem is the exact opposite of “curious.” It can lead to missing the mark and wasted effort. But if you understand a problem, you’re much more likely to come up with the solution that tightly fits the problem.
We’re looking for a clean understanding of the problem and a fitting solution. None of this happens in an anxious, uninquisitive environment.
Teaching and Learning Builds the Scaffolding
Through teaching, we build our own understanding and we build workflows that are hardened against problems we’ve already experienced. We just mentioned slowing down and understanding problems and not leaving anyone behind. And if you’re not leaving anyone behind, your more-experienced staff will start teaching the younger staff, creating a culture of transferring experience, building the scaffolding for handling future situations.
Testing Gives you Substance, Purpose, and Trust
They say what you measure is what gets done. So what will you test? Your work, your processes, the character of your team, your values, or something else? Because testing shows you what you’re made of.
But what else does it do?
Gives Employees a Sense of Boldness
Employees are much more likely to follow your values with boldness, especially when you’re testing yourself against the same standards you set for the team. They’ll also show more pride in the company.
Gives New Hires a Sense of Urgency
New hires grasp what the culture stands for more quickly when the culture shows the desire to be tested. Once your brand develops through continual testing, you earn the ability to be brief and clear in your communication.
Creates Respect on the Outside
On the outside, your commitment to accountability and improvement just looks like a company that’s growing fast and healthy. But when they see instances of you putting your money where your mouth is, holding yourself accountable as a culture and in individual circumstances, they can’t help but respect you. And they don’t have to like you in order to respect you.
Our Growth, Through Testing, Gives Our Industry a Sense of Undeniable Trust
We can talk about values all we want — and we should so that people know why we care — but testing ingrains those values into our habits, our processes, even our policies, and procedures. But as important as those things are, the value of challenging ourselves goes far beyond a policy.
In the end, the best thing testing can do is change who we are, bringing us more into line with what we say we believe, even testing some of those beliefs we find out to be false (through testing).
In the end, integrity isn’t an easy path. But developing consistent values builds in you a heart that’s worth more than any amount of money. And testing plays a key role in that.