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.