DISH was a risk from the beginning. “We left our jobs to do this!” says Lauren Hall, Director and co-founder of DISH. “That really set the tone in our minds, as we were pushing out of what already existed to create DISH from nothing.” So if the very creation of DISH itself was born from a mixture of risk and necessity, I had to go to the people who have been around DISH Value #8 the longest, the crew at DISH Central.
DISH Value #8 reads “Be open: to different opinions, challenging discussions, and taking risks.” What does that mean exactly? “It means that you have to realize that others have answers as well,” says Kirk Larson, Deputy Director. “There’s some great input out there from other people. It also means personally taking the risk of sounding stupid in order to get the best result for DISH.” Says Lauren: “It means being able to put your ego aside and have a conversation whose goal is the best end result.” It’s also “a reminder to be earnest and seek feedback,” says Doug Gary, Director and co-Founder of DISH. “It means we’re willing to take big steps to accomplish big things,” says JM Johnson, Operations Manager.
It’s become such a core part of operations that it’s “a driver of our operations,” says Kirk. “Our success is based on it. The I in DISH is for innovation, and while some things work, some don’t, the day we stop taking risks is the day we stop improving.” But what does it look like when you implement Value 8 in your work at DISH?
“You’ve got to let people know that you’ve got their back,” says Lauren. “And that you’re not going to judge personally. Encourage others to speak up and appreciate their opinion.” “Support others in their decisions,” says Kirk. “Say ‘I trust you’.” “Remember to slow down and ask questions,” says Doug. “Remind people that new ideas and challenging feedback helps get DISH to the next level.” “Try to check your own attachment,” says Lauren. “And remember that every person is different, every idea is different, every personality is different.”
Being open to different opinions and challenging discussions is pretty clear-cut: you can commit whole-heartedly to the idea without creating a negative impact. But sometimes the taking risks part of Value #8 can be tricky. How do you moderate the risks that you take in order to make sure that you don’t go too far? “You’ve got to rely on others to reel you back in,” says Lauren. “That’s the beauty of a team, the other people can say ‘hey, that’s not a good idea’.” Says Doug: “It’s all about assessing risk. Who is helped, what is the potential fallout. You need to very carefully weigh all of those things, thinking about the payoff versus the cost. Whenever you’ve got a big risk, get a second opinion.
“Taking risks can be a push outside of your comfort zone,” says Doug. “It can be difficult because what you’re saying might be going counter to what others are saying.” But still, “DISH is a place to make and learn from mistakes.” So open up to risks, challenging discussions, and different opinions!