I often get asked – “Why the name Cloverleaf?” After all, there are a lot of clover-related company names – heck, we didn’t even get the dot com for this name.
It boils down to the simple concept and vision of what Cloverleaf would become in those early days. For those of you that have previously founded a company you understand that there is often a weird phase at the beginning where you just have an idea or concept but you don’t have a name or brand. It is as if you had a child and had to wait until he/she could walk before naming the child.
When Cloverleaf was in that weird in-between stage we would often describe our idea by drawing a Venn diagram with three overlapping circles.
These circles represented three important concepts of how we, as individuals, do work. Each circle represented what we believed were really important pieces to align to do our best work. Let’s look at each in a little more detail:
Proficiency – in the early days we called this skill but eventually settled on an alliteration that eventually became known as the 3 Ps. When we looked across the landscape of talent tools (from talent acquisition to performance management) we saw that most focused almost exclusively on skill. We felt skill was obviously important and is often the price of admission but rather than stopping there we knew there were real differentiators that weren’t used. Whether by choice or not, we felt like this was a real miss in the talent management space.
Personality – the set of behaviors that were either used to process information or how others perceived your actions. We debated whether we should use this word (remember the 3 Ps?) since what we really cared about was behaviors and personality often left people thinking about the “Which Star Wars character are you?” tests that have become the hallmark of social media. Even today we work hard to avoid using the word personality in our marketing and in our product. Regardless of the word, what we cared about was shedding light on our behaviors and how those would likely impact our performance with others.
Preference – again, we debated what word to use. Ultimately we wanted a measure that could shed light on culture. But culture is such a loaded word. Everyone has a different way of thinking about what constitutes culture. Ultimately we give organizations several ways to assess this for their teams or organizations. We offer values-based assessments and work style preference assessments to provide insight into culture.
Next, we believe there is an important intersection of these elements that come together not just for the individual but for collections of people that form teams and organizations. This acts as an almost three-dimensional model that can provide tremendous insight into now only how individuals can do their best work but how they can do their best work with the people they are working with.
Another way to think about how these three things work in conjunction to grow your potential is to think of behaviors (personality) as the outcome of your skills or knowledge (proficiency) that is influenced by your beliefs or values (preferences). You can get more knowledge or develop your skills and that will impact your behaviors and that is where much of corporate development dollars are spent. Values are less changing but are important factors in decision-making. And these can change over time but are less volatile over time. As an example, if you get married and have kids your values may shift and what motivates you changes, perhaps slowly at first but maybe more pronounced over time.
So it is important to know all three aspects of the Cloverleaf to be able to effectively modify performance over time.
Now that you know the background on the three leaves of the Cloverleaf logo, you may be asking why not a fourth leaf, and to that I reply – the fourth leaf is luck and you don’t need to be lucky to do great work.