The Spirit of GSD!



This is another blog on our company values (from our 10 ATBs), a series underscoring a more modern look at value driven organizations.

Story: Getting Sh*t Done/Getting Stuff Done. Urban Dictionary defines GSD this way: “When you’re through with complaining about all the work you have and you just plow through it because it needs to happen. Can occur as a day, a certain block of time, a week, etc.” More importantly, some companies have embraced this behavior as a constant state of being for competitive advantage.

The successful Silicon Valley based cloud company, Box, is known for its ability to get sh*t done (or GSD). At Box, every laptop screen saver flashes this three letter call to action. Posters, t-shirts, and other communication vehicles also exhort this rallying cry. Their CEO, Aaron Levie, notes what this value means to Box: “One competitive advantage is the speed at which you can achieve. You cannot achieve by doing nothing. You cannot achieve by only talking about what you are going to do one day. You must get sh*t done. And you must surround yourself with other people who get sh*t done. We have done this by promoting an execution-oriented culture at Box. It’s a dynamic culture built on doing and improving. At Box we get shit done. And we do it well.”

Key Point: At our company, we have declared the value of: Find a Way to Get Things Done (although we have also informally abbreviated it to GSD). Too often, people talk a good story, are deft at describing issues, complain about stuff, etc. They fail to act. This way of thinking has the unfortunate outcome of less than desirable urgency, and little when it comes to real innovation. One piece of evidence is when pain causing problems to employees or customers remain unchanged year after year. In this case, one has to seriously question whether a culture really embraces GSD. Frequently, organizations can become literally complacent and even lazy. If things have not materially improved this year over last, I doubt if you’re serious about GSD.

Personal Leadership Moves:

  1. Measure the value you bring each day by the impact you’ve had, rather than just the amount of activity you’ve undertaken.
  2. Connect and continue activity to the extent you get desired results. When you do that, you can really execute; more desirable activity leads to more desirable results. Many times, people just measure activity and describe how “busy” they are, and forget to answer if it really led to sustainable results. This is NOT GSD.
  3. GSD! (Which doesn’t mean you can just be a whirlwind without using good judgment). Be known as someone who really gets stuff done.

GSD in Personal Leadership,

– Lorne

One Millennial View: I had the opportunity to actually grow up attending the same high school as Aaron Levie, and a couple other key players at Box. Whether it was an impressive magic display at a middle school talent show, or literally directing and premiering his own full feature movie as a high schooler, Aaron has always GSD’d. That’s just him. That said, it can always be learned, practiced and implemented by all. 

– Garrett Rubis

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis