by Jurgen Appelo
Our Happy Melly team (which currently takes care of both the Management 3.0 and the other Happy Melly brands) had a fascinating series of discussions recently. We talked about our core values, and we made some important decisions!
Like an infant not being aware of its personality, a startup cannot properly articulate its culture and values. Sure, you can be smart enough to describe your espoused values, but your enacted values will have to emerge over time — they are not designed upfront. And the culture and values of a startup can be in a state of flux for awhile.
After two years of working as a team, I decided to take our pulse to see where we stand.
First, I checked the values we tag in Bonusly, the app that we use for Merit Money, our peer-to-peer bonus system. In the tool, in order to acknowledge teammates and to give them bonus points or Merit Money, you have to hashtag the giving with a team value. For a good while, we had the informal practice of allowing each new team member to add a new value after onboarding, and we deleted the value that we used the least.
This Bonusly values list was the first of three lists of values that I used in my assessment.
Next, I invited the team for an online Zoom conversation about the following question:
“Give us one example of what makes you feel good working with the Happy Melly team, and you wished that every day was like that.”
Our team members came up with plenty of great examples like “I like the flexibility of the work, and the responsibility and trust we get,” and “I like learning about myself and how to work on remote teams.”
From all these examples, I deduced the second list of values for my assessment.
Third and last, I had a good look at our #value-stories channel on our team Slack. This is the channel that we prefer to use when we discuss ethical challenges, difficult decisions, or any other topics that we feel are important to our team’s culture. I checked all discussions we had in the last six months and derived a third list of values for my assessment.
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