Being a values-based organization

As you may have noticed, we published our Core Values on the website this past quarter. As the company was growing and new team members were joining, it was time we discussed what the 'rules of the road' were.  I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to lead our team through this reflection. 

Our Values Journey

We wanted to have these values written down and be mutually agreed upon by all employees.  

Once we decided it was a priority for the organization, we held several (device free) team meetings. During this dedicated time, we discussed values currently embodied by our organization and the standards we wanted to hold ourselves too.

There were three key steps we followed in formalizing our core values:

1. Brainstorm

First, we went one by one around the table brainstorming all of the possible values we could think of. We came up with over 90 possible values in an hour and a half, it was a great way to start the conversation. Sending out calendar invites outlining the expectations for the meeting gave people time to reflect before we all sat down. Going one by one, we ensured all voices were equally heard across the organization.

2. Refine

We took those 90 values, and identified about 20 common themes. Then tasked each member of the team with ranking their top 10 values out of the list. Then I narrowed these individual lists down to one list for the organization based on frequency and ranking.

As a group we defined what each of these values meant to us, and described how we would hold ourselves accountable to the value. During this meeting, we refined the list down to the five core values. 

3. Ownership

Once we had the final values, we needed to have a definition that was specific to Beauceron. So team members volunteered to take a value and write a description based on the group conversation.

David and I did an edit and then presented them to the entire team for discussion, final edits, and then approval. We went through sentence by sentence and made sure the value captured the message we wanted it to. 


What does it mean to us to be a values-based organization?

It means that every day, we hold each other to these standards. We call out behaviours that don't align with our values and celebrate when folks go above and beyond.

Our core values are integrated into our performance management process and are talked about regularly within the team. 

As we've talked about before, being part of a start-up can be incredibly turbulent and stressful. I'm thankful to work with an incredible group of people who are intentional about the organizational culture we're building. 


Contributed by Kathryn Chamberlain. Kathryn is the Chief Operating Officer at Beauceron. Kathryn holds an honours Bachelor of Commerce with a minor in Mathematics from Mount Allison University. Her research interests include organizational behaviour, change management and culture. She can be found on Twitter @_kachamberlain.