Naming Our Core Values: Part Two

Naming Our Core Values: Part Two

After identifying our four core values (read more in Part One), we allowed some time before reassessing them.

Make an impact.

Strive for more.

Do the right thing.

Let your weird self soar.

…Were these a true reflection of what Mixlr stands for?

Do these values hold up against the mirror?

Putting the Values to the Test

It is important that a company’s values are a genuine representation, not an aspirational set of principles.

Articulating core values means bringing to life a mindset that a team already collectively operates on.

Forcing a company to wear a set of values that’s two sizes too big looks at best naïve. At worst, hypocritical.

So, we wanted to determine whether our original four could hold water as Mixlr’s core values.

🎯 Continuous Testing with Further Iterations

We applied our method for shipping code: ship to staging, where it is tested before releasing to users with further iteration if and when necessary.

In our core value context, we ‘shipped’ internally. That is, these values were referenced in a quarterly kick-off presentation, highlighted within initial drafts of the employee handbook and shared across other internal comms.

Simultaneously, they were tested via team feedback in surveys asking “Would you personally continue to hold this core value, even if you were not rewarded for holding it?” or by alluding to them in conversations outside of Mixlr’s core crew. We wanted to know if it felt natural to bring them up, and if we could speak them with conviction.

Dissecting our core values

🎯 Core Values 1.0: Workshopping for Release

A second workshop was designed to re-assess our initial four values, having lived with it for a few months.

The two-fold intention hoped to gain an understanding of who we, as Mixlr, are in service of, and to see if we were ready for Core Values 1.0.

The core values exercise had to be mindful of:

1. What’s missing?

2. What needs to be redefined?

3. What still resonates?

4. What have we not been upholding?

In order to evaluate the above, we needed to properly assess each core value. Eliciting the help of the universally beloved Post-It notes, our four core value candidates decorated the walls.

Then armed with Post-Its, we each wrote a sentence interpreting the meaning of each value. These were then posted beneath the corresponding value. Next, we reflected back on recent examples where we’ve seen a value practiced or communicated, IRL.

There were moments (big or small) to exemplify each value. Having them vocalised in our own words and being able to illustrate with real life examples gave our values weight.

Our discussions, however, did bring to light a missing element: how well we worked together.

The essence of what makes us a great team does stem from the mutual respect for one another’s idiosyncrasies (read: letting our weird selves soar sky high). But the original four values hadn’t indicated much towards collaboration. We’re a small team, we can’t hide from one another. We have to leverage one another’s strengths, ideas and differences in order to build together.

We recognised this, and felt it worthy of our core principles.

We took a vote for the value that would best indicate the following:

Teammates, embracing our quirks, acknowledging different strengths, being unafraid to express oneself personally or professionally, letting our weird selves soar, and our affinity for using sounds like they’re emojis or gifs

Inspired by recent series of in-office sound effects, to the tune of Captain Planet, the new core value candidate sums it up neatly:

Let our powers combine.

Mixlr’s core values 1.0 was released externally on our careers page, representing how we work together. Internally, and in true Mixlr-style, version 1.0 meant it was ready for a dedicated sound per value.

At the end of the day, the team that makes up Mixlr is comprised of different folks with different strokes. It was important to understand what the enduring common threads were so that we can keep building great things together.