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  • Shawn Lankton

Empathy, Action, Accountability

When building a company it's critical to have a shared operating model. These aren't exactly values, but a set of beliefs that a team can share and build with. These 3 topics don't necessarily represent our culture either. I like to build cultures of excellence, service, and fun. Instead, this is operating model we think about every day as we organize to solve big problems for our customers and grow our business.

  • Empathy & Expertise

  • Participation & Action

  • Metrics & Accountability

Empathy & Expertise

Empathy is first because it's really important. Having empathy means understanding your customers, your partners, your team, and your community. It means finding ways to make it easier for others. Empathy means understanding everyone is out there doing their best and change is hard. But if we really want to help our customers and our teammates do better, we have to motivate them to change anyway. The only way we make progress is through change.

Of course, most change doesn't create progress, and that's where expertise comes in! To ensure that you can really use your empathy to help other people, you need to know what you're doing. Expertise means knowing your function, knowing your product, and knowing your business. We each strive to become more expert so we can help our customers succeed by building, selling, and supporting the right products in the best way possible.

Participation and Action:

Wanting to help and knowing how are great, but only if you actually do something! We will always think of ourselves as a small company where everyone is here for a reason. Everyone's job is important, and everyone participates in our success. Participation means doing your job as well as you possibly can while recognizing we win as a team. We use Empathy and Expertise to ensure our work has impact and helps move the entire company and our customers forward.

Taking action is critical to full participation. We're impatient with action, but patient with results. Only through action can we change and improve the world around us. We thrive on brainstorms and experiments -- quick hacks followed by sturdy, long-term solutions. Entropy and momentum are both powerful forces. We take action every day to keep things moving in the right direction.

Metrics and Accountability:

Metrics are what allow us to prove our actions are having the desired effect. We measure our business, set goals, and track progress. We use metrics to help ensure quality at scale and coordinate across an ever-growing set of individuals with diverse skills, backgrounds, and time zones!

Accountability means having a plan, letting others know what it is, and working hard to achieve it. True accountability requires a great deal of empathy and expertise. Achieving it requires participation, action, and metrics. We love crushing our numbers, but when a plan doesn't work, accountability also means telling the truth, learning from our mistakes, and making a new plan that works better.

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