Definition dictionary.com: The state or quality of being frank, open, and sincere in speech or expression; candidness.
Candour isn’t just a thing between colleagues. We carry this value with us in every aspect of our work, no matter who we’re dealing with.
That means we are candid with all stakeholders (employees, candidates, customers, investors, etc.). Some examples:
- Being honest with deadlines and expectations between departments
- We don’t tell customers that something is on the roadmap if it isn’t
- We don’t say that a prospect’s use case is the perfect fit if we think it won’t work out
- We can still sell our product and services in a positive way.
- We should not tell anyone our opinion impolitely or inappropriately.
We do talk openly with each other and respect each other.
Given the previous point, talking behind someone’s back is something we don't do. We give the other person the chance to explain their point of view. Therefore please avoid ‘office politics’.
Don’t be egocentric or selfish. Like in team-sports, the team is much better if the individuals work for the team instead of only for themselves.
Apologize. Everyone makes mistakes, apologizing shows you appreciate the other person.
On-demand and Honest Feedback
Feedback is an integral part of our culture. Feedback can involve both telling someone what they are doing well, or telling someone how to improve. Both types are equally important.
Be candid, but be kind. Telling it like it is is not to be confused with being rude. We encourage people to say when something isn’t right - the only thing that makes a difference is how we do it. Be constructive and offer a way to improve if possible.
On the flipside, it is also important to take feedback well. Listen to what your colleague has to say and think about it (even if you end up not agreeing with their feedback). Feedback is a great way to learn and to grow.
When listening to feedback, keep in mind that we are all in the same boat and have the same goals, even if we have different points of view or different ways of achieving those goals. Keep an open mind and try to empathise with the person sharing their feedback with you.
Time & Place
When exchanging feedback, timing can be important. Sometimes it is good to give feedback in the moment, when the experience is fresh in everyone’s mind. But sometimes, moments go by fast, or feedback is private, or emotions are running high. In these cases (and others), it is good to wait to deliver feedback. You should use common sense, both when you are delivering and receiving feedback (it is completely ok to tell someone you would rather hear this feedback another day if you aren’t in the state of mind to listen to it right now).
Finally, feedback can be shared through anything from a quick chat on-the-spot to a Slack message to a planned session - use common sense to figure out which method is best (e.g., you wouldn’t discuss big changes to a colleague’s working style over Slack).
There’s no benefit from pointing fingers. Everybody makes mistakes and fails from time to time, and it’s beneficial for learning and further development. We foster an environment where people feel confident to assume liability for their actions.
- we do not blame as it is backward-oriented, but talk openly about failure
- delicate situations are never discussed in front of the whole team
- we analyse what happened to learn and focus on finding solutions
- a negative result is still a result and how one uses that information is what finally matters
Commitment (wikipedia): Organizational commitment is the individual's psychological attachment to the organization. [...] The employee experiences a 'sense of oneness' with their organization.
We chose commitment as one of our core values because we believe that everyone needs to feel attached to the organisation in order to contribute to it. It is a positive concept that is based on meaningful work and an environment in which your voice is heard and appreciated.
Commitment towards the organisation
Our commitment towards the organisation originates from our belief in its core purpose and desire to achieve the BHAG. This means that our daily work should always support this vision rather than personal interests and benefits. We do not support egos, selfishness, or politics. Only in this way can we build a value-driven organisation that empowers its members while striving to achieve its vision.
Taking ownership is an important part of implementing commitment in day-to-day life. To take ownership means to bring your own ideas forward, to take over responsibilities, and to be accountable for the results.
Everyone gets the possibility to form the future of the organisation and to give a voice to their ideas. Ownership can be taken by individuals as well as by teams, e.g., by bringing a product idea into a feature and eventually releasing it to our customers.
Ownership needs to be taken and it needs to follow intrinsic motivation. If you see colleagues struggling, or general shortcomings in the organisation, use your initiative and take the first step.
For more details, this is a good read on principles that help employees take ownership.
Sometimes it is necessary to go the extra mile, which means that we have to make a special effort to achieve something. Such a situation could occur, for instance, if there is a product release date that we need to meet, if one of our customers needs help, or if we are behind on our goals.
In these times we need to strengthen our focus, re-prioritise other things, and work harder than normally. These days are inevitable but should never become the normal work mode.
Definition vocabulary.com: Curiosity is the urge you feel to know more about something.
Why Be Curious?
We chose it as a core value because we believe that curiosity is a basis for lifelong learning that helps everyone constantly develop themselves. Curiosity urges us to scrutinise things, to challenge ideas, and to grow both as people and as an organization.
We actively encourage a mindset based on curiosity. Curiosity drives learning, experimentation, and the further development of skills and knowledge. It means being sceptical and challenging things - trying to find new approaches and questioning existing processes and procedures. This leads to constant innovation for our product, our teams, our minds, and even our culture.
Since curiosity is an inner motivation that needs to be fueled, we provide an inspiring and supportive environment.
The organization encourages new ideas and participation in shaping its direction.
Unlike traditional companies, we don’t have specific training events that you need to attend in order to climb the career leader. We foster skill growth and have an environment in which all colleagues can learn.
For example it is ok to join meetings of other teams at any time just out of curiosity about the topic.
It is expected that colleagues take time to learn to be curious, for example, about new technologies, processes, work styles or any other topic that could, in the short or long term, become a valuable, complementary skill for them.
As said above, there is no top down teacher telling a colleague what to do. If you plan to spend a significant time to learn something, then:
- follow the Decision Making Process
- the team is encouraged to foster your curiosity
- the learning colleague shall provide a summary or feedback with their key learnings and potentially even give a #solvecademy about the subject
We do not have specific learning budgets that one can spend - but it is ok to spend money (e.g., to pay for an online course or go to a conference) - just follow the Expense Policy.
We like sharing and we like learning, and #solvecademy is a cool way to combine both. It’s a way we prove some of our core values: Teamwork and Curiosity. Turning yourself into a knowledge silo with the hope it will make you irreplaceable is a dangerous path to take - this turns colleagues away from supporting you as you become a solo-flyer. Share your knowledge and your colleagues will be thankful, and it will drive them to do the same.
- a #solvecademy is a short and crisp presentation
- any colleague can offer a #solvecademy on a topic of their choice
- there's no restriction in the topic, as long as other colleagues are interested
- everyone is invited, no one is obliged to attend
For Solvecademies, there is not a set time frame. Every Solvecademy organizer can pick when they would like to present. Just pick a time spot on the team calendar and invite everyone!
We want to encourage our team members with time and support so that we can all learn new things. Libraries are great for exactly that: storing a curated collection of books and other resources.
We have a small physical library of books in the office and a digital library. Everyone can buy books (see Expense Policy).