In his remarkable formulation of Netflix’ values, Reed Hastings argues that you can identify a company’s values from what it actually does, not from the values it claims to have. So here’s an interesting exercise: Instead of making a list of the values you’d like your company to have, make a list of the 5 core values you observe in practice.
For Seeking Alpha, I think our 5 observed values are:
- Be rational. We put a lot of time and effort into thinking things through.
- Be good. We treat everyone with respect, honesty and fairness.
- Be transparent. If we’re rational and good, there’s nothing to hide, no need for spin, and we welcome input and discussion.
- Get things done. We value people who are “managers of one“.
- Be excellent. We identify the top priorities, and try to get them done really well.
Reed Hastings adds that “actual company values are shown by who gets rewarded, promoted or let go.” If your hiring, firing and promotions reflect your true values, then these events become values clarifying moments for people in your company.