A collection of Mountains and Valleys worksheets.


When our remote team at The Department of Better Technology nearly doubled over the span of the few months, we ran into growing pains. A new diversity of perspectives and working backgrounds made it harder for us to quickly make decisions and reach consensus. It seemed like everyone had a different idea of what our culture was and what we stood for.

So, at our next retreat, I advocated for and facilitated a workshop to generate our core values.


I recognized that company values were only effective if they aligned with the organization’s actual behavior. Otherwise, it would be easy to ignore them or treat them as a joke. So I took a bottom-up approach, facilitating a “Mountains and Valleys” exercise to help my colleagues document their personal values, and what those values meant to them. Then, we aggregated the results by discussing which values we shared.

After the retreat, I combined our writing into a single values statement. To make everyone comfortable speaking out if they had an issue, I privately asked each team member for feedback, regardless of their seniority. Finally, I published our core values on the company homepage to unanimous consensus.

The values


Everyone is worthy of honor and respect.

From our customers to our colleagues, everyone with whom we interact deserves a basic level of decency. We place ourselves in other people's shoes and adjust our behavior to treat them in a way that honors their dignity.


We help each other be our best.

We want to empower each other to do our best work and help each other feel like valued members of the team. When we provide critique or feedback to our colleagues, we try to build them up, not tear them down.


We always have room to make progress.

No matter how far we've come, there's always room for us to be better. We set a high bar for everything we do and aspire to excellence. But once we achieve a seemingly impossible goal, we keep going.


We strive to stay curious.

We question the way things are as a way to engage with the world. We actively seek information and experiences that might challenge our perspectives.


We can't do our best work without having time to live.

We are passionate about our mission and what we do, but we recognize that our work does not define us. We value work/life balance and give each other the space and time to attain soundness of mind.