The Values That Define Us

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Over the last year I’ve gained a much higher appreciation for the proper documentation of a company’s values. When I was younger I was much more carefree about company values or even the company mission statement, but lately I find having well-thought-out and excessively reenforced values are an extremely helpful tool to help shape and align the inevitable hard discussions and decisions that need to be made within an organization.

In part I think this new perspective has been fueled through the company I subcontract through, Test Double, which does an excellent job of consistently referencing and referring to their own core values when discussing decisions, designing systems, hiring new employees or sharing praise.

The other big factor of course is the continued increase in social awareness around racism, injustice, and inequality. It feels great that there is some momentum being made here (noting the long road ahead of course). All this activity has many, including myself, taking stock in what they value and how our actions align with those values.

When the alignment is off you see volatile results like the recent Basecamp leadership failure or even the Apple’s lack of consistency with its quickly reversed hire.

Even when I disagree with a company’s chosen values (as I do while I read through Working Backwards: Insights, Stories, and Secrets from Inside Amazon) I actually appreciate the documentation. It helps shape my understanding of the company and its decisions.

For values I do heavily align with, check out People-First Business from Wildbit. There are lots of great topics to read about on that site.

If you share my interest in continual iterative improvement to things like company culture or product development practices I think you’ll find documented company values can help focus many decisions. Personally, I think some value introspection will likely be part of a personal retreat I’d like to take soon™. More on that another time.