What are our values and how can you help us live them?
Values guide action
Since ancient times, the Northern Star has helped travelers make decisions by pointing them to true north. Values, similarly, help people make decisions by pointing out the right way to act.
Values simplify choice and collaboration
There are two reasons that values are important:
First, they simplify strategy, product, and people decisions. They do this by limiting choice. For example, if one of your values is “Goodness”, then the only products you can create are those that make the world a better place.
Second, values simplify collaboration. Picture a few one-celled organisms moving around doing their thing: that’s a group of individuals. Now, picture these cells as they form a larger organism, each cell doing what’s good for the whole: that’s a team.
Values make it easier for individuals to collaborate as one because 1) they provide a clear standard for how to behave, and 2) knowing that your teammates act from the same values as you do increases trust.
How to choose values
Values are rarely more than fancy-sounding words that are preached, not lived. To truly guide action, three things about how to choose values are key:
1. How beats what
First, how a team decides its values is more important than the values themselves. Why? Because values are only effective when people want to live them, and deep involvement of team members is essential to create such desire.
At Diet Doctor we take this “how” very seriously. We spent more than a year discussing values. Disagreements were frequent, which is a good thing, and in the end everyone’s views had been heard. At that point, just before the summer of 2016, we made our decision.
2. Less is more
Second, all team members must effortlessly remember the values and what they mean. This requires having few values with concrete examples of how to live them.
At Diet Doctor we aimed for three values but failed and ended up with four. For each of them we provide three examples for how to act.
3. Right is might
Third, the values must be right. This means that living the values must 1) increase the probability of achieving the company purpose, and 2) be the morally right thing to do.
At Diet Doctor, we discussed these things by asking questions such as: “How should we act to empower people everywhere to revolutionize their health?”, “When pursuing our purpose, what’s the “right” and “wrong” thing to do?” “How can we make sure we only do what’s right?”. Hard but important.
The Diet Doctor values
Below are our four values. We don’t claim to live them perfectly, but we do aim to.
We aim to be worthy of trust in everything we do.
How to act with Trustworthiness:
- Say what you think and feel, and practice what you preach.
- Act as if the world were watching.
- Strive to be less wrong by seeking opposing views and exploring what’s hidden.
We aim to make everything we do as simple for people as possible.
How to act with Simplicity:
- Get to the essence of what’s important, remove everything else.
- Focus on the most important thing, say no to everything else.
- Communicate in ways that make it simple for the person you’re interacting with.
We aim to massively inspire people.
How to act with Inspiration:
- Don’t be boring.
- Think differently and look for creative solutions.
- Act with passion and touch people’s feelings!
We aim to feel good, be good and do good.
How to act with Goodness:
- Treat everyone, including yourself, with kindness and respect.
- Make the world a better place.
- Spread the power to do good.
How to use the values?
Values are only effective when they help us make good decisions. Here are three examples of how we use our values at Diet Doctor:
We use our values whenever we create something. For example, when we create a new low-carb guide we ask questions such as “Can I truly stand for what I’ve written?” (trustworthiness), “How can I make this guide shorter?” (simplicity), and “Will this make people take action?” (inspiration).
We hire for values. To do that we don’t rely solely on interviews – we try to work with the person too. This is unusual but we believe it increases the probability of hiring people who will live our values.
We use our values to give feedback. Such feedback can feel a little uncomfortable, but because our values are clearly specified and everyone agrees with them, it makes giving and taking feedback easier.
You can help
We don’t claim to live our values perfectly and you can help us improve. Here’s how:
Whenever you feel we are not living up to our values, please send us an email, or make a comment on our site or Facebook page. This will direct our attention to whatever we are doing wrong and help us improve faster.
Do you have some feedback for us right now? Please tell us in the comments below. Thank you for helping!