When I first heard the Alchemist values – Bold, Human, and Perceptive, I was really excited. They immediately resonated with me. And then about five seconds later I felt completely daunted. To embody all three at all times seemed like something that would require a great deal of vulnerability and nuance. Which is a scary prospect. I mean, how bold is too bold? What if I’m too human and make a lot of mistakes? Am I perceptive enough to notice when I’m not being perceptive enough? These and a million other thoughts rolled around my head. And then, as quickly as the thoughts came they faded away. I carried on with my work, and began the process of reframing my current role through these new values. Why?
Well, over the last two years reacting to the unexpected has become a full time job. Both personally and professionally. Particularly in Production as we have to respond to sudden change and then problem-solve under pressure on a near constant basis. Yet, it’s sometimes hard to feel entirely in control of the unexpected. Often I find it feels like I’m surviving but not thriving. And from this point of view I started to see the brand values crop up in everything we were doing, shifting my perspective.
Yes, the unexpected can be scary. But as a part of a team, if you’re bold enough to face it head on, human enough to ask for support, and perceptive enough to spot when someone else is struggling, then you will always walk away with something positive under your belt. When the whole team embraces this, taking control of and thriving in, managing the unexpected becomes a reality rather than an aspiration.
Realising this, and seeing my colleagues demonstrate the values in countless other contexts, it’s become clear to me that Bold, Human, and Perceptive are far from just intimidating words on a page. They are tools used to enhance and challenge how we show up and give the best of ourselves to those around us. I would argue that, really, taking control of the unexpected is just that – putting your best foot forward, and catching each other if you trip over your laces.
The Production Team have a tough job at Alchemist. Because so much of what we do is oriented around humans, every project always has such a high margin of human error. People get ill, lost, and make mistakes. It’s the Production Team’s job to work tirelessly behind the scenes so at the end of the day it looks like there were no mistakes. It’s a thankless task because they’ll never say what went wrong and what they had to fix. And from the participant’s and the client’s point of view it always seems like everything just went smooth sailing. So whilst Jade may feel like she’s only “surviving” and not “thriving”, when so much can go wrong and sometimes even does go wrong, the fact that she and her team make it so that on every day of every delivery it’s memorable, successful, and has even more of an impact than the client thought was possible… then “surviving” is in fact “thriving”.