Brian Walsh
Oct 14, 2018

We believe the secret sauce of CodeScience lies in our culture, values, and priorities. They form a reinforcing loop that supports us in providing excellent service, propels our technical excellence, and enables our consistent growth. While we speak about them often to prospective employees and customers, we realized recently that we have not published them for world to find as well.

Priorities

Our organizational priorities were established last summer and we rely on them when making difficult decisions:

  1. Our team
  2. Our clients
  3. Our partners
  4. Our vendors
  5. Our ownership

How can our clients not be our #1 priority? We believe that to be of service to our clients, we must first be of service to ourselves. Self-care is not selfish. It is a requirement in order to consistently deliver extraordinary results.

Isn’t the main purpose of a business to develop shareholder value? While we may disagree with the label of “the main purpose,” we are fully in agreement that increasing shareholder value is incredibly important. However, by prioritizing the success of our constituents, we ensure the success of our ownership.

Values vs Culture

There is a difference between values and culture. Values are with us for the long term. They are our guard rails. They are the lines that we will not cross -- digestible statements that provide a lens for our decisions and actions. Our values change slowly and deliberately.

We view culture, on the other hand, as the space between our values. Our culture is made up of our employees, customers, and partners and represents the way that we choose to live and express our values. We foster (and are thankfully known for) a culture of quirk, fun, and excellence.

Earlier this year, we chose to refresh our core values with three goals in mind:

  1. Make our values memorable as a short statement rather than a single word. It is important for everyone to be able to remember our values. I also dreaded that our values felt like an inspirational poster you would find in a big company cubicle.
  2. Reflect our current organization. Values should change very slowly! However, CodeScience has gone through tremendous change and growth and it was time for the values to match the current leadership team and organization.
  3. Our statements of value should reflect our culture. How can we reinforce our culture of quirk, fun, and excellence with a simple bulleted list?

Designing values for a company is an art. And like all great art, some pieces are borrowed directly, while others are inspired by the work done before it. CodeScience has six company values. Each is equally important and they are not listed in a specific order. We leaned on other companies for crafting ours (for instance, Box.com - thank you!)

  • Master your craft
  • Assume noble intent
  • Make Mom proud* 
  • Default to transparency
  • Inclusivity breeds diversity (and is everyone’s responsibility)
  • Focused curiosity

*unless she is Cruella de Vil

We are extremely proud of these value statements and believe that they balance between who we are today and who we aspire to be.

Personal Values

In addition to our company values, we understand that our team has a shared value system as well as bring their own personal values to the workplace. By expressing our personal values, it is easier for colleagues, clients, and partners to work together. 

There were concerns about whether the personal values could conflict with our shared, core values. We addressed this concern in two ways. First, in going through the exercise we asked that the core values be considered prior to contributing personal values. The second, and more poignant, was a key phrase in how we work at CodeScience: hire adults and treat them like adults. 

We think of sharing our personal values a recursive function of “Default to transparency.” What can we say? We’re geeks.

We capture our personal values within our Slack profiles and Salesforce contact records and make them available for everyone to see. Here’s a sample of some of our personal value statements:

  • Chaos is an opportunity to work with strangers to bring consensus and order - so embrace it.
  • Hope for the best but prepare for the worst.
  • It doesn't stop being magic just because you know how it works.
  • Lead with love.
  • Don't make success an accident
  • Be honest. Be kind. As much as you can. As often as you can.
  • Done > Perfect
  • Honor your body to fuel your mind.
  • Create a Just and Equitable World
  • Two simple steps to success: show up and don't suck.
  • Never stop learning.
  • Surround yourself with people that make you better
  • It wasn't a waste of time if you learned something. Progress is better than perfection.
  • Not everyone can be a CodeScientist, but we should try to leave everyone feeling like they want to be!
  • Hard work creates talent
  • Be the person your dog thinks you are.
  • To serve as a leader, positively impacting and contributing to every human I come into contact with and leaving them a bit better than before they met me.
  • If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go further, go together.
  • Treat people like you want to be treated. Enjoy the sunshine and the rain. Make a snow angel when you can - even if it is in the sand.
  • Great systems are works of collaboration
  • Always tell the truth
  • A person, not unlike yourself, will one day use what you helped build today.
  • I bring my love and enjoyment of people to work and keep that in mind when crafting experiences and designs.
  • Be of good cheer.
  • plan the work, work the plan
  • Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex… It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.
  • Don't reinvent the wheel

I was told I must pare this down to just 8-10 personal value statements. I just love them so much that this is the most I can trim.

Living Our Values

What has been essential for us in rolling this out has been constant reinforcement and celebrating when our employees or clients demonstrably live our values. Each Monday, we have a full team call (we are highly distributed throughout the US and this 15-18 minute call each Monday is the only time we are all “in the room together.”) At the top of the call we love to share anecdotes and stories about our employees, and customers, who visibly live our values. We also encourage people to talk through how they may have missed living our values. 

It has also become an important part of our communication in our presentations and throughout our decks that we use with clients and prospects. Building trust is accelerated when we are transparent about who we are, our motivations, our priorities, and our values. Trust is vital to truly attain velocity in business.

If you are interested in joining our team, please take a look at our careers page and see if there is a fit. If you don’t see something that is a good fit for, but you live out these values in your daily life, reach out at the portal below on the careers page.

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