Why We Updated Our Core Values
Simplicity can be challenging. But it’s also incredibly important.
As we approach our 7th year in business, we learned this lesson for the umteenth time when we set out to refine our company vision into a single sentence — a true north.
Like so many companies, we know in our hearts that we work so hard because we’re doing something great. But how can we as a business explain this to others in a simple, memorable way? How can we galvanize new co-workers with our excitement, or inspire prospective customers with our vision?
Simon Sinek hits upon this topic in his Ted Talk: How Great Leaders Inspire Action (above).
Sinek says most companies fail to captivate because they talk about their product starting with What and How. But great companies (like Apple) and inspiring leaders (like MLK) articulate their vision from the Why.
Of course, why every company exists is to make money. That’s not a Why. Why is a raison d’être — literally a “reason for existence” — or perhaps a raison de come-to-work-every-day.
So what is it so important about articulating your Why as a single statement?
- Everyone at the company can remember it.
- When we’re not sure what direction to take, we can look at it through the lens of our vision and values to find the answer.
Before Flite pivoted to the ad tech world, we were a B2C widget platform called Widgetbox. We were helping to democratize and simplify the web. Through widgets, we bridged the gaps between coders, designers and content producers.
When we pivoted to Flite, we redefined our values then as well to reflect our new business. The result was a company culture flight path with 12 bullet points, 7 defining traits, and an 8-point HR mission statement.
I was on that team, poured my heart into it, and was so proud of the result. We wanted to do everything; be the most awesome. In hindsight, I see now that we failed to realize the importance of simplicity.
You can’t have 27, ten or even three top priorities. A compass can only point in one direction.
And so, we set forth to revise our Why one more time. After countless hours of debate, soul-searching, and distilling our values down to their roots, what understanding did we come to?
Here it is, our vision — what we’re calling our true north:
At Flite, we believe in empowering people.
- To empower our staff to be successful and fulfilled.
- To empower our customers to accomplish ambitious and great things.
- To empower our end-users to find more value and entertainment in online advertising.
Working outward from Why, we also articulated our How as these three core values: Delight, Empower, and Deliver.
- Delight through authentic optimism and a passion for what we do.
- Empower people to do great things through ambitious innovation and iteration.
- Deliver results that earn trust through clear communication and excellent teamwork.
I want to write more here, but that’s why having a simple statement is so challenging. When stating your mission you have to show restraint and not dilute the vision and values with over-explanation.
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It’s often hard to take on the new. But as I walked past the office kitchen the other day, I overheard someone say, “I’m empowering you to do those dishes!”
We may evoke true north in jest now, but that’s a sign that the new vision and values are sinking in — and most importantly — being remembered.
Enormous thanks to the team for the hours of work in distilling and crafting this concise and inspiring vision to guide us.
Armed with delight, empower, deliver, we have a clear road map for authentic Flite interaction and performance, whether it be with a customer, vendor, team member or process.