Creating Core Values

In 2013, SalesLoft stated the three core values that had brought our founding members and investor together: positive, supportive, and self-starting. They become the #1 priority of our organization. We hired & fired, reprimanded & praised, used them to make product/sales/services decisions, and used them as the basis for promotions. They led to awesome organizational health.

Two years later with the team 12x larger, we recognized two things were happening with the business around core values:

  1. Team members where excelling in the business who showcased other important values outside of our core three.
  2. Some team members who were positive, supportive, and self-starting were still leaving some traits to be desired.

So I called the leadership team of seven together and took them through the following exercise:

  • Each team member filled out a google form asking for them to list 3 employees whom “if we could clone, would lead us to market domination”, then list the 7 most relevant traits of these team members.
  • We took the list of traits and combined synonyms, printed it and brought a copy for each manager to review over dinner and discussion.
  • We took a vote over dinner and tallied up all the answers, then we discussed the entire evening. Three new core values emerged:

Open, Empathetic & Exceptional.

Since then, we’ve realized the importance of defining these words and what they mean specifically to our business. I’m going to do that in a series of posts here.

Starting with empathetic.


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