It was January of 2021. Eric and I had just gotten to know each other as we launched into building The Juice. One of our first collaborative tasks was creating our “Employee Handbook.”
Fortunately, as part of the High Alpha Venture Studio, there are templates and processes that make this much easier. One of the core elements of this initial handbook was an entire section dedicated to Core Values.
As we were guided through the creation process, I remember Eric and I were both slow to participate. Later, as we were privately debriefing, “So, uh…core values, huh?”
It felt weird for us.
We had barely gotten to know each other, we weren’t 100% sure of what we were building, how we were building it, or who we were building with.
Instead of prescribing core values ahead of time, we decided to define operating principles that would guide who we would hire and how we would work together. Once we had a founding team in place, we would let our core values organically reveal themselves and define them as a team.
So, we launched with six initial operating principles:
- Prioritize authenticity: with each other, with our customers, and with our partners. Real talk and real relationships win.
- Learn from failures: we’re moving fast and learning faster. Don’t be afraid to take on big challenges. If we fail, we share and learn from it. If we succeed…
- Celebrate wins: what we’re building takes a lot of hard work. So when good things happen, celebrate with your team. Make a habit of celebrating wins — and stacking them up.
- Decide with confidence: trust each other and the team we’re building. Communicate the context, then make decisions with efficiency and confidence.
- Practice radical candor: care personally, challenge directly.
- Have fun: in this we believe above all else…
With these defined, the team grew to 11 and we truly felt like these operating principles gave us a shared language and empowered us to grow quickly.
Now, it was January 2022 (Eric and I had gotten to know each other) and it was time to launch into a new year for our growing team. It was time to define our core values.
Again, with the support of High Alpha, we were guided through a process to draft these. It was one of the most fun activities we’ve done as a full team. We did a virtual white boarding session, brainstorming words that defined our team and our values.
The results very much mirrored our operating principles—a good signal that we had hired the right people and the team had bought into what and how we were building.
Through a few iterations, we refined our operating principles into core values. At our annual kick-off meeting we rolled out four core values inspired by our previous operating priniples
- Be Bold: if this were easy, someone would have already done it. It takes a bold vision and a bold team willing to act quickly, confidently, and decisively.
- Practice Radical Candor: care personally and challenge directly—with our members, customers, partners, and most importantly, each other.
- Celebrate Wins: while we know we’ll have losses, we learn and we move on. We play to win. When we win, we win big. And we always celebrate.
- Bring The Juice: our team, our product, and our customers have "it". We thrive on energy, excitement, fun, and optimism.
Now, the team is aligned which is great because…we’re growing.
If you’re interested in living out these core values with 10 of the best team members around, learn more and apply for our two open roles:
- Senior Software Engineer
- Product Designer (coming soon!)
Whether you’re interested in joining the team or learning about defining your own core values, we hope this is helpful. We didn’t do it alone. As always, it’s fun to use our own platform when we go through this exercise.
Here are some of the brands and content that inspired our team:
- How Incorporating Core Values Into Your Interview Process Can Be a Competitive Differentiator by Guru
- Core Company Values: 100 Examples & How We Built Ours by Hotjar
- How to Create A Company Around Clear Corporate Core Values by Alyce
- We Updated Our Core Values For The First Time in 5 Years, Here's How We Did It by Buffer
And as always, remember to … Bring The Juice! 🧃