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Unlocking the full capacity for creativity

on October 30, 2017

At Torc, we have worked to cultivate a creative, transparent environment where our team members can unleash their creativity. We firmly believe a strong team that works hard and plays hard is an important element in the path to success.

Jennifer Owen-O’Quill is a leadership consultant who works with Torc team members on communication and organizational leadership. In this video, she outlines her experience with Torc as we’ve grown, and our continual effort toward creating an environment that makes the impossible possible.

Below is the video and an excerpt of the transcript from Jennifer’s talk (starting from 9:32). To learn more about our team, visit our careers page.

So, I would be making a mistake if I didn’t take the time while I was here today to talk with you about an organization that’s bringing both of these things together. They’re figuring out both time and trust and they’re creating a creative environment. So the organization that I wanted to talk with you about is an organization that is— I actually asked Michael, the president, if I could share their story, and that was before I saw that they were written up this month, actually in Virginia Business and in the Roanoke Times in the last little bit… Torc Robotics. Torc Robotics is doing amazing things in the world, Torc has the capacity to build things that don’t exist, that’s what they do. They take things that people want but they have no idea how to have because they don’t exist in the world. “We want the capacity to be able to do this but that capacity doesn’t exist in the world yet, would you please build that for us?” And then Torc goes and builds those things, they build robots.

So we’ve been inside of this organization for a number of years at Torc and when we got there, there was less than 30 people. I will tell you that the top priority from the organization from the time that they started until now is that the full creative capacity of each and every single person in the organization is unleashed in the organization. Because if you’re going to build something that doesn’t exist, if you’re going to actually have something at the end of the day that’s delivered to a customer that didn’t exist in the world before you started to think about it, you need to have your people bringing their full creative power to the day, every single time. And so he’s [Michael Fleming] invested in creating creative environments, so they do interesting things at Torc. He’s got a few practices. He’s got the capacity inside of the business to meet quarterly, right? He’s just decided that’s what he’s going to do, he meets every quarter and it’s a vision meeting. And it isn’t the kind of vision meeting where, “let me cast the vision and tell you all about it,” it’s the kind of vision meeting where he asks questions about what they’re engaged in, what they’re curious about, what they want to find out more about. It’s a conversation, it’s not a “telling.” And out of that conversation he also shares what’s going on in the landscape of the world and where they might need to move and how they can put together the things that the group is curious about learning and growing and doing next. And what the world needs to be built – and it’s a dialogue – and they do it every quarter.

He [Michael] takes the time to invest in relationships at every single level of the organization so it’s not just the senior leadership team. He’s curious about nourishing his leaders all the way through, and we meet monthly with different leadership groups inside of the business to have creative conversations about how they’re doing together with one another. We meet with the dyad leaders. So, here’s two people that might not always get along: the people that design things and the
people that make them do it on time and under budget… I’m just saying, right? But we sit down with those folks we make sure the communication is clean. So, when you have that… when you have that kind of ongoing rich dialogue you have something really spectacular. And they take time— you’ll see in their video— they take some time to paint and have fun and play. Teams that play together stay together.

Jim DudleyUnlocking the full capacity for creativity

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