Back in 1976, I set out to make Fenwick Software an enjoyable place to work, somewhere to build a career and a place to create long lasting friendships and relationships. In both internal operations, and in dealings with clients, we continue to implement these basic concepts. In 2006, Eric Beinhocker, a Senior Fellow at the McKinsey Global Institute wrote a brilliant book on the radical remaking of economics and what it means for business and society – The Origin of Wealth. Beinhocker’s cultural guidelines, detailed below, fit with our beliefs and the behavioural practices that we have developed over the past 37 years.

It is always nice to get academic confirmation of ideas you have worked out from years of trial and error. Josh Birrell’s blog on 26th September 2013 tells how someone new to the firm sees it and confirms that it is all still there two years after I stepped down.

Performing norms

  1. Performance Orientation: Always do your best, go the extra mile, take initiative, and continuously improve yourself.
  2. Honesty: Be honest with others, be honest with yourself, be transparent and face reality.
  3. Meritocracy: Reward people on the basis of merit.

Cooperating norms

  1. Mutual Trust: Trust your colleagues’ motivation, and trust in their skills to get the job done.
  2. Reciprocity: Live the golden rule; do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
  3. Shared Purpose: Put the organizations’ interests ahead of your own, and behave as if everyone is in it together.

Innovating norms

  1. Non-hierarchical: Junior people are expected to challenge senior people, and what matters is the quality of an idea, not the title of the person saying it.
  2. Openness: Be curious, open to outside thinking, and willing to experiment, seek the best, wherever it is.
  3. Fact-Based: Find out the facts; it is facts, not opinions, that ultimately count.
  4. Challenge: Feel a sense of competitive urgency; it is a race without a finish line.
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Written By Peter Fenwick

Peter was born in Geelong and educated at Geelong College. He studied Civil Engineering at the Gordon Institute of Technology and Melbourne University, graduating in 1966. In 1972 he completed an MBA with distinction at Melbourne University. He studied philosophy under Fr. Eric Darcy and is an alumni of the Cranlana Colloquium and a member of the Mises Institute. For thirty-five years, Peter managed Fenwick Software which he founded in 1976. In 2011, he established an employee shareholder scheme and five of his long-term staff now own seventy–five percent of the company; one of them, Greg Galloway, manages the business. Peter remains involved part-time as chairman. He has been married to Jill, a school teacher and author, since 1966. They have three sons and three grandchildren. He enjoys jazz, film and theatre, and plays tennis, royal tennis and chess. He has written two books: The Fragility of Freedom: Why Subsidiarity Matters and Liberty at Risk: Tackling Today’s Political Problems. Both are published by Connor Court. His blogs appear on his website

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