Those of you who follow us at Yieldr will remember a post just over a year ago, which profiled our process of constructing our first series of team values. Of the many aspects detailed, two points remain poignant.
First, values are not a static piece of an organization, but an ever-growing and evolving part of a group. Secondly, we realized during our retrospective there were some things we wished we had done differently.
With that being considered, we set out to optimize our values for our way forward.
I know, I know. One of the cardinal rules of values is that they should not be changed because it defeats the whole purpose of their existence. However, this was our first crack at them so we really wanted to get them right. That’s why we allowed ourselves an opportunity to optimize them.
Iron Sharpens Iron
When it came to starting the process of solidifying our values, it was only natural (and logical) to look to the values themselves. One of our strongest values – as we’ll outline later – is Iron Sharpens Iron. We love testing our thoughts and ideas with our colleagues in order to achieve maximum results.
Rather than solely relying on informal lunch discussions and fleeting comments, we asked for direct feedback from the team in regards to our core values, both during a purpose workshop and later on during our biannual extended team survey.
As you can imagine, asking a large group about such a topic leads to a wide array of scattered commentary and opinions. Therefore, we did our best to consolidate and group all the feedback to identify trends and recurrences.
For the sake of brevity, we’ll spare all the painstaking details and instead point out a few key points.
It seems that a lot of colleagues were stuck on the word “core” in core values (you’ll see that there is purposely no mention of it here). What became a somewhat semantic debate was based on the notion that we had too many values (nine) and therefore couldn’t be “core”. Regardless, we took this feedback to heart and worked it into our revamping.
Also, we found there to be a bit of ambiguity and blurred lines surrounding our values. A few colleagues found it difficult to distinguish between the values and that they overlapped too much.
To best illustrate this point, let’s look at a specific example. Someone brought up that Answer the Bell and Take Action Fast (this was a new value that was considered but not adopted) were too similar.
In short, Answer the Bell means overcoming adverse situations, where Take Action Fast meant to be accountable and correct situations on the spot. Admittedly, we can see where the ambiguity comes from, but with these things, everyone has their own interpretation.
Another interesting point to note is we aimed to remove values with a negative connotation attached. For example, our value for challenging how we do things was Don’t Be a Monkey. It became common for colleagues to go around the office calling each other monkeys. Although it was nice the value was resonating, it didn’t deliver quite the desired effect.
In the end, the result was removing four values and adding three new ones. Once again, for a complete rundown of our previous values, check out the past blog post.
We ended up removing: Think Independently Together, Lead by Serving, Life is an Echo and Don't Be a Monkey.
We added: Challenge the Status Quo, Be Humble and Complete Life. This also means we brought out values down from nine to a more evened out eight, taking into account the feedback about having too many values.
Here is a quick rundown of our values 2.0:
We believe in empathy over egos. Humility will always get us further than pride. Through both successes and failure, we remain modest and put others before ourselves.
Challenge the Status Quo
Don't do things just because they've always been done a certain way. The key to our success is the ability to adapt and continually optimize everything we do.
Answer the Bell
There's never a challenge we don't like. No matter the challenge, collectively or individually we never hesitate to rise to the occasion to conquer it. We hold ourselves accountable rather than pass on responsibility.
The User Leads
At the heart of everything we do is the end user. Everything we do is done with the user in mind. By having a truly customer-centric approach, we're able to build products that are loved.
Legs Feed the Wolf
A wolf does not eat simply by being a wolf, just as talent alone will not propel us to greatness. We must put in the legwork and habitually improve ourselves through dedication and learning in order to succeed.
Jump off Cliffs
When we see an opportunity, we don’t hesitate! We believe in learning by doing and "building our wings on the way down". Our greatest growth potential lies outside of our comfort zone.
Iron Sharpens Iron
We test our thoughts and ideas against one another to be the best we can be. We understand that through feedback and collaboration, we become stronger.
We value a balanced life inside and outside the office. We believe in being complete people, managing our wellbeing in all facets: emotional, spiritual, physical, professional and personal.
Where to Go Next
We now have a fortified set of values that we are happy to stick to for now and in the future. The next task at hand is to further ingrain them into our culture and ensure they are top of mind among our colleagues. This means we’ll be holding initiatives and events and we'll organically bring our values into our daily work lives.
One new initiative we’ve rolled out is ceremoniously awarding a team member of the month of sorts by passing on our Answer the Bell belt to the team member who best exemplifies that value. We’ll also work in new values and optimize this initiative as we go, but our first recipient was very pleased with the acknowledgment!
Culture is the backbone of any organization, so our onus will remain on our team and processes. Peter Drucker said it best when he quipped, “culture eats strategy for breakfast.”
Stay tuned to the Yieldr Content Hub and our Instagram for more items related to our values and culture!